By Michael Reardon
Left to right: Coach Adam Pascal, Paul LeBlanc '07, Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J., president of the College, Dr. H. Martin Deranian, Rev. Anthony Kuzniewski, S.J., athletic chaplain
It takes more than athletic ability to become a member of the Holy Cross men's lacrosse team. Every player and coach must also volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Massachusetts through the team's "John's Brothers" program.
"When I recruit players, they know this program is mandatory," says Coach Adam Pascal. "There was nothing like this at the other schools I worked at. When I saw what the Holy Cross students were doing with this program, I felt that I had to become involved. How could I not do it?"
On Jan. 9, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Massachusetts presented the Holy Cross men's lacrosse team and its captain, Paul LeBlanc '07, with the H. Martin Deranian Fellowship Awards for their commitment to volunteerism.
LeBlanc was honored for his three-year stint as a Big Brother, as well as for recruiting other volunteers from Holy Cross and the Worcester community. Last year, he also helped to raise $3,000 for children's programs by recruiting fellow teammates for the Rodman Ride.
The lacrosse team was recognized for its "John's Brothers" program. According to Ben Ticho, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters, the team received the award for their "six years of service as Big Brothers to boys in Worcester, for their inspiration and recruitment efforts to other teams and students at Holy Cross, and for their role in recruiting other sports teams at Clark, WPI, Assumption, and Worcester State."
Each team member and coach has a Little Brother who attends the Canterbury School in Worcester.
"The team has found that being Big Brothers is a two-sided experience," LeBlanc says. "You can see the kids change from week to week. It's also a great team-bonding experience for us. It's valuable to our lacrosse careers and to our lives in general. It puts everything into perspective. You realize the depth of your responsibility, and the impact it has on other people."
"John's Brothers" is named in honor of John Price '01, a lacrosse team captain who was killed in a train accident in 2000, and who had also been involved with Worcester's Big Brothers Big Sisters program.