Since its founding in 2008, Harlem Lacrosse has been guiding the success of young student-athletes in the classroom, on the field and in their communities, by teaching them “how to set goals at an early age…and that going to college is the end goal, whether they continue to play the sport or not,” says James Mulvey ’83, who serves on the organization’s New York Advisory Board.
In addition to lacrosse training, the non-profit offers academic support, college counseling, career exploration and service learning opportunities to more than 450 boys and girls in New York, Baltimore, Boston and Philadelphia.
A Geneva, N.Y.-native, Mulvey played lacrosse at Hobart for legendary coach Dave Urick, who “also always told us to look to give back to the sport when we get the chance.” On that advice, Mulvey coached college lacrosse in New Jersey after graduation, along with his teammate Jeff Eaton ’83.
In 2013, after 27 years working on Wall Street, Harlem Lacrosse founder Simon Cataldo recruited Mulvey to join the organization as executive and managing director. In these positions, Mulvey wore many hats — “fundraising, managing tutoring sessions at lunch time and driving the kids around to boarding school interviews, college visits and lacrosse tournaments in the Northeast of the country,” he recalls.
Working with Cataldo and the organization’s other leaders, Mulvey helped foster Harlem Lacrosse’s growth, adding at least one program each year while participants maintained a 100 percent on-time middle school graduation rate. Harlem Lacrosse’s impact on student-athletes remains evident in their ongoing academic achievement and in the more than $15 million in scholarship offers they have received from independent schools and colleges, including HWS.
“We currently have students at West Point, UVA, Haverford, Bates and of course Hobart,” says Mulvey, noting that two Harlem Lacrosse graduates number among the HWS student body. “The program has expanded from the schools in Harlem to Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia and now Los Angeles in the next year.”
The success of the program, Mulvey says, is clear in the dedication of the student-athletes and their love of the game. On Saturdays during the winter, he brings players to New Jersey to play with his son’s team. Recently, when “the #3 train was delayed at 123rd Street,” Mulvey recalls, “one of the players ran 23 blocks with his equipment to meet us on time.”
With the leadership of other Hobart alumni, including Sean Regan ’13, J.C. Stein ’86 and Eric Stein ’89, Harlem Lacrosse is poised to continue to mold highly motivated, high-achieving scholars and lacrosse players.
Additional information about the organization and its programs can be found at harlemlacrosse.org.