December 10, 2010

Merrimack Men Helping Out at Local School

from press release

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Merrimack student-athletes have always been heavily involved in the community, but this year, the men's lacrosse program has developed a new connection in the community, with the New Horizon for Youth School located in Memorial Circle in Andover.

The New Horizon School, funded by the Andover Police Department, is an after-school homework help program for kids from 1st through 12th grade. Currently, 31 kids are registered with 18-22 attending daily. Three students have qualified for the prestigious Phillips Academy Summer Program while others have received academic and athletic collegiate scholarships.

"It is nice as a coach to see your players understand the value of community service and really believing they are helping mold the young New Horizon students into adults," said head coach Mike Morgan, whose men's lacrosse program earned the Merrimack Athletics Team Community Service Award after the 2008-09 season.

Beginning in September, members of the men's lacrosse program have volunteered their time at the New Horizon School daily, helping students with homework and activities while serving as positive role models. Up to four Warriors spend three hours per day, helping to provide a safe environment while encouraging and helping the students, who are mainly from Bancroft Elementary and Doherty Middle School.

"The Merrimack men's lacrosse team is providing tremendous mentoring relationships with the New Horizons for Youth Program students," said Mary Wesson, director of the program at the New Horizon School. "The kids look forward to them on a daily basis and are working hard individually to get their homework done, read books and then to play educational games together. We are very grateful for their contributions and are thrilled to collaborate with Merrimack College."

"Many of our players were asked to only volunteer for three dates over the course of two months," said head coach Mike Morgan. "But most of them forged such a strong relationship that they went back even when they were not obligated to help."

In keeping with the holiday spirit and the gift of giving, the men's lacrosse team took its relationship with the New Horizon School one step further.

On November 23, two days before Thanksgiving, the men's lacrosse team teamed with the New Horizons school and distributed 80 turkeys and side dishes to families at the Memorial Circle public housing complex that are donated yearly by the Andover Rotary Club. Most of the turkeys were delivered within the 54-unit complex to low income families, who are unable to shop for and cook a Thanksgiving dinner.

"It was great working with such an outstanding program at New Horizon over the past few months," said Morgan. "We look forward to having a long relationship with them and are excited to have the kids from the program on our campus in the spring."

The New Horizon group will be the guests of honor at one of Merrimack's spring lacrosse home games.

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