by Mark Hanoian || AHL On The Beat Archive
|Abby Williams, Michael Lehr and Lukas Kaspar pitch in as part of the Sharks’ "Be a Leader" program.|
Street hockey is a rare after-school program these days, so when eager, hockey-loving students are deprived of a suitable rink, an outside force needs to get involved.
Enter the Worcester Sharks “Be a Leader” program.
The Clark Street School in Worcester has been host of the Worcester Sharks “Be a Leader” and “Reading is Cool” programs, has been earning positive feedback from parents for years, but the insufficient funding that the school has experienced has been more than apparent. The Sharks, well aware of this fact, led an effort to reward the school in the form of renovating the school’s exterior. Parking lots, a basketball court, a playground, and a street hockey rink were all refurbished with the help of Worcester Sharks players and staff, as well as the law firm of Abigail Williams and Associates, in part of the “Be a Leader” Community Service Day.
“Clark Street,” affirmed Sharks director of youth hockey and community relations Mike Myers, “has a very active student body that uses the facilities for after school programs whose field conditions were lacking. And the school also has street hockey as an after-school program so it was a natural fit for us to lend a hand.”
The entire front office, staff, and players of the Worcester Sharks were joined by office the law firm of Abigail Williams and Associates which closed their doors for a half day for the “Be a Leader” Community Service Day.
“Our entire office had a great time today at this event and we encourage other local businesses to take the time and energy to help their community,” urged Abby Williams, the principle of Abigail Williams and Associates. “We hope to lead by example by rolling up our sleeves and getting things done. Today’s youth will be tomorrow’s leaders.”
In addition to Abigail Williams and Associates, several other Worcester area institutions and businesses joined the Sharks in making the new Clark Street vision a realization. The Worcester Department of Public Works, the Worcester Parks Department, and Worcester School Department helped to reinvigorate the local elementary school. Likewise, United Rentals, Lowe’s, Starbucks, Worcester Sand and Gravel, Northeast Promotions, and the Boynton Family Restaurant all contributed to the effort.
The Sharks’ “Be a Leader” program, the driving force behind the effort, was created in conjunction with the Law Firm of Abigail Williams and Associates prior to the 2007-08 season. It is designed to provide students in grades four through six with leadership advice to enrich their lives, as well as the lives of others. The program utilizes Sharks players and an Abigail Williams and Associates representative to educate students on the importance of developing leadership skills, emphasizing hard work, sacrifice, and taking care of oneself.
“We feel that it is important,” explained Sharks CEO and president Michael Lehr “to take time off from our normal busy work schedule to give back to the community.”