Stringing Communities Together - Harlem Lacrosse

Solo or Team : Team
Member1 Name : Jackson Appelt
Member1 Grade : Senior
Member1 ID : 173205
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Member2 Name : William Ahrens
Member2 Grade : Senior
Member2 ID : 172002
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Member3 Name :
Member3 Grade :——Select——
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ProjectName : Feeding the Future
ProjectFormat : Community Service
ProjectSummary : This project was a documentary, titled ‘Feeding the Future (, on the coalition between the New Canaan-based Filling in the Blanks organization and the Harlem Lacrosse and Leadership (HLL) foundation. Filling in the Blanks is a non-profit which purchases, packs, and delivers food to malnourished children who can’t afford meals on the weekend in poverty stricken areas like Bridgeport. HLL is a school-based youth service organization based in Harlem which aims to give opportunities and change the life trajectories of at risk youth. Through mentoring, academic support, and team/leadership building training in athletics, HLL helps guide young students to realizing their full personal potential.

This video gives a background on each organization and documents the event in which HLL students from PS 76 came to New Canaan to volunteer for Filling in the Blanks. This extraordinary partnership produced over 600 bags of food in one day and fed hundreds of children over the weekend. It was also incredibly inspiring to see people of diverse backgrounds come together to serve a common purpose and aid those in need.

The HLL-New Canaan relationship continues to flourish, as we have helped organize several other events together. For example, we host an annual 3v3 lacrosse tournament with HLL, New Canaan and Darien players to raise money for the foundation. Furthermore, we recently organized a trip of National Honor Society students to PS 76 to read to elementary schoolers and educate middle schoolers about the high school/college process. These events highlight just some of the many activities that have demonstrated the incredible experiences that arise from the interaction between the HLL organization and New Canaan volunteers. They have fostered life-lasting relationships and been a driving force for change and leadership in our communities.

ProjectMission : This project embodies the mission of the Wilburn Fellowship as it demonstrates the power of human connection in creating change. While the volunteers from New Canaan and students from Harlem may stem from diverse backgrounds and circumstances, you will see from this video how incredible it was that these people were able to work together towards a common purpose. However, setting aside the formal work these volunteers did, the unscripted moments from the video, like dance battling or snowballs fights, also show the incredible happiness we received from spending time together. It proves that while we may originate from different lifestyles, at the end of the day we are not so different after all. Moreover, the most effective and infectious form of leadership is one in which you are able to find passion in connecting with others. The pure joy we experienced by learning from each other, laughing together, and working towards a common goal have demonstrated this!

idea. Ultimately, these experiences have come to remind all of us that human connection is the power that allows us to make a difference in the world.

FundingQ : No
FundingDetail : If our project of growing and enriching the relationship between HLL and New Canaan were to be chosen as a finalist, we would donate all of the proceeds to both HLL and Filling in the Blanks. We believe that since this project would not be made possible without the hard work of the many volunteers for each of these organizations, it is only fitting that the proceeds of this stipend should be given back to their initiatives to further promote positive change and support their amazing efforts.

ContinuingStudy : We absolutely intend to continue the goals of this project and hope to continue the relationship between HLL and New Canaan. We continually invite the HLL students up to New Canaan for events, fundraisers, lacrosse tournaments, and hope to allow them to visit the high school and sit in on classes. Furthermore, we wish to encourage participation in the HLL organization and hopefully will pursue internship or employment opportunities there during or after college. These experiences have demonstrated to us that the missions of organizations like HLL and Filling in the Blanks are something truly worth investing in and fighting for. We have felt honored to consider ourselves a part of their incredible efforts and look forward to participating in them in the future.


December 9, 2016 – 12:19 pm