Our Purpose and Mission

At OWLS, we engage, enrich, and inspire Chicago kids and communities
through the power of lacrosse. Together with our stakeholders, we help bridge the achievement gap for Chicago’s underserved neighborhoods through mentorship, academic support, enrichment experiences, and the great game of lacrosse.

Program Model


Outreach is the OWLS recruitment model designed to integrate our curriculum into schools and other community organizations free of charge. Activities include a series of clinics that combine our lacrosse and team-building curriculum. Outreach programs are offered through our school partnerships during PE class.

• Focus: Learn by Play
• Grade Levels: 3rd – 6th


OWLS League

This seasonal program provides underserved youth with free equipment, transportation to practices, high quality coaching and interscholastic league play

• Focus: Team Building + Competitive Play
• Grades: 3rd – 8th


OWLS Academy

Academy was launched in 2018 to provide year-round holistic intervention for the most active members of OWLS Lacrosse. This intensive year-round program aims to bridge the educational gap by providing “Academy Scholars” with access to the highest quality tutoring, academic workshops, and enrichment experiences.

• Focus: Impactful Mentorship + Academic Achievement
• Grades: 6th – 12th



Students Served Per Year

200+ Students Served Per Year through OWLS Outreach Programs


Current OWLS Academy Scholars

$900,000 in Private College Prep Scholarships Awarded for Current OWLS Academy Scholars

Volunteers Per Year

OWLS supports a network of 50+ volunteers a year and provides trauma-informed training to 40+ coaches


I had never heard or seen lacrosse a day in my life until the OWLS program came to St. Malachy when I was in 8th grade. I picked it up right away and went on to play at St. Ignatius College Prep. It was great playing on a high school team and getting to make new friends. I was always a quiet kid but lacrosse gave me a voice. As a defenseman I had to communicate slides with my teammates, and over time I really gained confidence. After college I plan on using my knowledge of lacrosse to give back and teach kids like me.

-Marcus, OWLS participant since 8th grade, The Ohio State University ‘19

OWLS’ focus is not only on the athletic aspect of playing sports, but also on leadership on and off the field, in the classroom, and in the community. Few other programs I’ve worked with have focused so much on not only making better players, but better people.

-Thomas, OWLS Volunteer, DePaul ‘15

Without the opportunity to coach with OWLS I would have never found my passion in social work. This organization has given me an understanding that hard work and care for the greater community can change lives, even it’s through something like lacrosse.

-Rebecca Wolfe, Former OWLS Volunteer

OWLS helped me become a better leader through team-building games I participated in at every practice. I’m grateful for all the experiences we had in the program, especially college visits.

-Elijah, OWLS Alumni

I am from the West Side of Chicago born and raised in a single parent home. I love my community but when I drive through I see drugs, shootings, and abandoned homes… it is a really bad sight. I had no exposure to things outside my neighborhood but that all changed when I joined OWLS in third grade.

-Jaylin, OWLS Academy Scholar ‘22

Being part of OWLS Lacrosse has taught me many lessons. The program has taught me to be open-minded and try new things. In the past I was a really shy person but OWLS helped me add authenticity to myself as a person, and ultimately I gained more confidence. I have always been serious with my academics but being involved with this organization keeps me motivated to maintain high academic standards. OWLS taught me how to be a real student-athlete!

-Jillian, OWLS Academy Scholar ‘21

My biggest obstacle has been growing up without my father, he was murdered before I was born. I have to face many challenges without having my father in my life, so I try to stay focused on my studies and involved in as many sports as I can. There is a lot of violence in my neighborhood. I hear shootings, I see people on the corners selling drugs, and I have had friends who I have seen change to try to fit in with these people. Living in my neighborhood many young boys my age don’t really have the opportunity to step outside the neighborhood and be involved in sports like lacrosse.

-Alsee, OWLS Academy Scholar ‘21

OWLS Academy has provided my son with college visits, a network of diverse individuals, time management skills, service-learning opportunities, experiences like University of Notre Dame’s summer lacrosse camp, and affordable access to his current high school team at Notre Dame College Prep!

-Nikkita, OWLS Parent


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