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A Charitable Break

A Charitable BreakThe men's lacrosse team saw success on and off the field this spring break, using their time in between games to give back.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [03.27.09] Along with earning an impressive 13-10 out-of-region victory at nationally ranked Haverford College on Mar. 17, the Tufts University men's lacrosse program was even more impressive with its charitable contributions during spring break week.

On Wednesday afternoon (Mar. 18), the Jumbos visited the local Cradles to Crayons (C2C) warehouse in Quincy and assisted the organization on a variety of projects. On Friday (Mar. 20), they visited Children's Hospital in Boston, spending time with kids in the teen psychiatric ward, the neurology ward, in the waiting room of the free clinic, and making other stops.

Cradles to Crayons provides, free of charge, low-income and homeless children from birth to pre-teen the basic essentials they need to be safe, warm, ready to learn, and valued. According to the Cradles to Crayons website, almost 300,000 Massachusetts children up to age 13 live in poor or low-income households. The organization also sets a foundation for lasting change through the meaningful, tangible volunteer opportunities provided to thousands of youth and adults each year.

On Wednesday, the Jumbo lacrosse team was one such group to make a difference. After returning from Pennsylvania at 2:00 Wednesday morning following a 13-10 victory at 11th ranked Haverford College, less than 12 hours later nearly 50 members of the team traveled to Quincy and provided C2C with a valuable work force.

Jumbos assembled cribs, processed orders and stocked the warehouse. A group of engineering majors from the team set a C2C record for the most cribs assembled with 11 in a period of two and a half hours, breaking the previous best of six. They were then able to appreciate the benefits of their labor when a family came in to take home one of the cribs they put together.

Tufts was put in touch with C2C by Dan and Wendy Kraft. Dan Kraft is a member of the Tufts University Board of Trustees and a former Jumbo lacrosse player.

"Our team was great and it was a real positive experience," head coach Mike Daly said.

Children's Hospital Boston is one of the largest pediatric medical centers in the United States. Children's offers a complete range of health care services for children from birth through 21 years of age.

The Tufts team distributed T-shirts to as many kids as they could and junior Mike Droesch (Setauket, NY), leader of the record-breaking crib assembly, was whooped by a six-year old on his computer spelling game. According to Coach Daly, while Droesch contends the boy will turn seven any day, Mike is also an engineer, so it was not surprising to see him lose the spelling contest.

At the teen psychiatric ward, Jumbos Tom Bragg (Bath, ME) and Darius Bittle-Dockery (New Haven, CT) decorated a ceiling tile in their group room with an elephant and some Tufts Lacrosse artwork. Others talked to the kids about college and even sang some karaoke. The team had also collected money and made a $500 donation to Children's.

"It certainly was an eye-opener for our team," Daly said. "They just did an amazing job connecting with the kids. I was over-the-top proud of them."

Charles Savicki, Tufts Class of 2004 and a starting defender for the lacrosse team, works for the Children's Hospital Trust and also joined the team that day.

Ranked #9 in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll this week, Tufts hosts a key New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) game against Wesleyan University on Saturday (Mar. 28).

This story originally ran on the Tufts Athletics Web site on Mar. 24.

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