The Ferris School for Boys in Wilmington, Delaware is an intensive rehabilitation treatment center for youth males between the ages of 13 to 18. The boys are sentenced to Ferris by the family court in Delaware, and on average, they reside at the facility for an average of 6-12 months each.

The majority of the residents come from impoverished backgrounds, have been involved in drugs and gangs, and are identified as serious or chronic repeat offenders that pose a risk to themselves or others. 

The school provides a structured learning environment integrating education, programming, treatment, and therapeutic clinical programs. It has also offered fall and winter sports outlets, but has always had a void in its spring schedule.

As chronicled in this new video, Second Chances, lacrosse is now filling that void. 

“The aim of introducing lacrosse at Ferris is to have a spring sport that will allow large-muscle exercise, that will get the residents out of the building and into the fresh air, and that will ultimately lead to lower numbers of restraints,” said Dr. Katharine Powers, a licensed clinical psychologist at Ferris. 

There’s also the benefit of bonding through a shared experience. 

“This is about learning something they have no idea about and coming together as a team,” said Walter Armstrong, assistant coach. “We’re going to go through the struggles together and then come out on top together.”

The boys had their first lacrosse introduction at the end of December and played a limited schedule of games against local school teams this past spring. 

“We’re trying to help kids understand the team concept,” said Craig Walker, athletics director. “They have one goal, to play together in order to win.”

The game can also make an impact by providing new options for the young men as they leave Ferris.

“Most of our residents will return to local area high schools upon their release,” Powers said. “We hope that some of our youth fall in love with the game and will find their way onto lacrosse teams when they return to the community, instead of back onto the streets.”

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