Florida Tech Partners in 'For the Love of Lax'

MELBOURNE, Fla. Florida Tech men's lacrosse is partnering with a new local initiative called For the Love of Lax. The program, which is free of cost for all campers, teaches the game of lacrosse to special needs individuals while integrating them with kids without disabilities.

Taylor Canavan, a local student at Westshore High School in Melbourne, came up with the idea for the program for her senior project. She wanted to combine her knowledge of lacrosse with her love of children with disabilities. Canavan devised For the Love of Lax to give these kids the opportunity to learn the fundamental skills of lacrosse, friendship and diversity.

Canavan approached the FIT men's lacrosse coaching staff seeking help in establishing a camp series for these children. Upon hearing of her idea, the coaches were anxious to immediately get involved and help out in any way possible.

"When Taylor called us about this opportunity, we jumped all over it," said head coach Ryan McAleavey. "We talk to the guys all the time about how lucky we are to be able to play the sport that we love and help people with special needs that aren't able to do the things that we can do. We want to try to help as much as possible to fill their lives with the joy that we have for lacrosse. Working with this population also hits home with me, as I have a master's in special education and this is what I've done for a long time. To be able to really give back to these children is something we jumped all over."

For the Love of Lax kicked off this week on Nov. 3 and 5, with six campers participating the first day. There will be more opportunities for children to come out as the camp will also be held on Nov. 10, 12, 17 and 19 from 5:30-6:45 p.m. ET at Viera Regional Park.

FIT assistant coach Mark Penn believes the opportunity to help For the Love of Lax will have an immeasurable influence on the men's lacrosse team.

"We love this type of event because of the impact that it has on the special needs kids involved and also because of the impact that it has on our student athletes," stated Penn. "Our players face so much pressure to compete at the highest level of their sport, so it's refreshing for them to help these kids just enjoy the game and have fun learning it. We appreciate the fact that it's not about perfect fundamentals or great form, it's really about seeing the kids smile and enjoy experiencing a sport that we love. This event truly uses lacrosse to break down barriers and makes the kids involved feel a sense of achievement.

"We go out there to impact them, but they always seem to impact us more," Penn continued. "We tell our players to use their God given gifts to help others, and to put others first. We felt that Taylor's clinics are a great way to share our talents in a selfless way. We have also been introduced to some very special little athletes who are finding joy in the game we love. It's great for our athletes to interact with these awesome kids who have so much to give back to us."

For more information on For the Love of Lax, please contact Taylor Canavan at 321-615-6000 or beanm67@gmail.com. Those interested in helping grow the program can visit the GoFundMe account (the link can be found at the bottom of the release) created by Canavan to gather support for the initiative.

The money raised on the page will go towards purchasing t-shirts, lacrosse equipment, food/water and first aid kits.

For the Love of Lax GoFundMe page: www.gofundme.com/LoveOfLax


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