We need your help to continue our success in empowering the inner city kids of Bridgeport, CT.
Established in 2008 – Bridgeport Youth Lacrosse has been committed to increasing awareness and opportunity for urban youth in the sport of lacrosse and beyond. Our mission is to empower youth with the self-confidence, discipline, and skills necessary to succeed in sports and life.
Over the last ten years, BYL has grown to include Bridgeport Youth Lacrosse Sports Academy, which is an after-school-based, year-round program that provides academic intervention, behavioral support, mentoring, leadership training, and sports instructions to over 250 student-athletes throughout Fairfield County.
One of BYL’s biggest goals is to diminish the disparity between the quality of holistic sports programs available to Bridgeport’s urban youth and those offered to their suburban counterparts. Additionally, another significant challenge impacting children in Bridgeport is youth violence. Youth violence is a complex social problem that requires a multifaceted approach to prevention, intervention, enforcement, and social-emotional development. For these reasons, BYL has partnered with other long-standing nonprofits that work with children in Bridgeport to develop a plan focused on reducing youth violence while offering quality programming The students in our program have graduated from Denison University, Wentworth Institute, Jacksonville, Villanova University, Williams College, and many more
Bridgeport is Connecticut’s largest city and a Title I school district. There are over 21,000 students in the Bridgeport Public School (BPS) system and 100% of those students qualify for the Free or Reduced Lunch Program making BPS the largest concentration of high-poverty students in the state. In the 2016-17 school year only 17% of Bridgeport 11th and 12th grade students could pass a college readiness exam compared to 44% of Connecticut students and 70% of students in neighboring Fairfield. Bridgeport’s poverty rate is twice the national rate, three times the Fairfield County rate and six times its neighboring towns.
Poverty isn’t the only issue that Bridgeport Youth has to deal with. Youth violence is a prominent issue, especially in Bridgeport, but what exactly is youth violence?
“Youth violence occurs when young people between the ages of 10 and 24 years intentionally use physical force or power to threaten or harm others. Examples include fights, bullying, threats with weapons, and gang-related violence. A young person can be involved with youth violence as a victim, offender, or witness.” – Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The age group 10 to 24 is 23% of Bridgeport’s total population of 146,582, yet 33% of all crimes in Bridgeport are committed by this age group in 2017. Youth violence was responsible for 100% of Negligent Manslaughters, 75% of Motor Vehicle Thefts, 69% of Robberies, 46% of Weapon.
Charges and 38% of Murders in Bridgeport in 2017. There were nine murders, 109 motor vehicle thefts, 117 drug abuse violations, 64 weapon charges, and three forcible rapes committed by the 10 to 24 age group in Bridgeport.
— Our Mission
Empower youth with self-confidence, discipline, and skills necessary to succeed in sports and life
— Our Story
BYLSA is a year-round, school and community-based, holistic mind-body-spirit program that provides academic intervention, behavioral support, mentoring, leadership training, and sports instruction to students throughout the Bridgeport Public School system and public camp programs. We currently serve over 250 students in six elementary schools and hope to expand BYLSA into a city-wide program. We offer summer programs to children of various ages including a wide range of sports and other activities.