This school year, we were able spread our scholarship reach to more LtN athletes. You may know about our original LtN Scholars program, which awards one 6th grader in Costa Rica and one rising senior or one older player that has not been able to attend school in Nicaragua. Our LtN Scholar program developed out of need for change. In Costa Rica, receiving a high school education in the area of Potrero means travelling to the next town – a financial burden on many families. In Nicaragua, rising seniors who wish to go on to University can be dissuaded by financial barriers like needing to start work to support their families, or the costs of classes, supplies, and transportation. The LtN Scholarship program pays for our scholar’s school and supplies while also providing them with the opportunity to coach with LtN to receive a stipend to support their families while furthering their education. After expressing the needs of many other athletes in our programs, LtN was awarded the Bill Belichik Grant – giving us the opportunity to expand our reach.
This Spring, we provided 22 LtN players of various ages in Nicaragua with school supplies for the entire year. Eleven players from Chiquilistagua and eleven players from Club Hope were awarded with notebooks, geometric tools and graph paper, writing utensils, two full school uniforms, and two sport uniforms for gym class. While students can attend public primary and secondary school here, the costs for uniforms, books, and transportation can be overwhelming for families. This scholarship expansion helps these 22 players by lowering the costs associated with receiving education – encouraging the kids to remain in or return to school. Without the BFF Grant, none of this would be possible.
Under these scholarships, we aim to encourage good school performance and responsibility on and off the field. Players who have received supplies for the year are expected to maintain a 75% grade point average and attend study hall each day that we hold practice. Awarded players are also expected to come to every lacrosse practice unless they provide an excused absence.
Parents of children receiving the scholarship are expected to support their children with pursuing their scholarly responsibilities, helping ensure that they are attending school each day. In addition, scholarship parents stay informed by attending meetings with the coaches and staff of LtN. As liaisons, LtN coaches and program directors are responsible for the positive encouragement of scholarship players on and off the field. Coaches are present for study hall sessions and provide tutoring to all LtN students who need it.
Receiving an education in Nicaragua is not always a priority. With the help of the Bill Belichik Foundation, we are reinforcing the importance of education to our student athletes and how much we value it. Our first and foremost priority is to address the challenges of receiving education. Through their participation, student athletes can speak to and work with LtN coaches, volunteers, and staff to find the best avenues to make a change. Through the expansion of our scholarship program, we hope to encourage more kids to join LtN, making their own personal growth and development a part of their everyday lives.