“Donors and volunteers of CityLax: Thank you for your leadership and support! It’s you who help us get one step closer to our goals and successful futures.”
Jahnazia “J” Williams is in the eleventh grade, currently attending the Collegiate Institute for Math and Science, located in the Bronx. Born and raised in Harlem, New York, J has lived with multiple foster families and has subsequently moved boroughs and schools throughout her first three years of high school. She was first exposed to lacrosse when CityLax held a clinic at Frederick Douglas Academy during her freshman year there. She describes herself as an open-minded person and credits this characteristic for how she initially got involved with lacrosse. “I wasn’t that familiar with the sport, but I decided to give the clinic a go and see how I liked it,” she explains. What she found, though, was more than just a sport—it was a family.
“At the CityLax Clinics, there was definitely a sense of community. It didn’t matter what your skill level was or whether you were a competitive player or not, we were all on the same ship,” J describes. “We were all impacted by lacrosse in ways that left us changed for the better.”
J quickly picked up the sport and began attending other CityLax programs, including the Summer Pick-Up Clinics at Pier 40, the Girls Fall Showcase Tournament Team, and the Winter PSAL Player Clinics. Her bubbly personality and high energy bring up her teammates and ensure that every practice is as fun as it is challenging. One of J’s favorite things to do is to incorporate her gymnastics skills while playing lacrosse (for instance, catching and passing the ball while simultaneously performing a full split). Through these experiences, she says she’s made “unbreakable bonds” with other kids from all over New York City and she believes the memories from playing lacrosse will always stay with her.
To J, lacrosse is more than just a hobby—“I see it as my whole life,” she says. “Each time I step onto a field, whether it’s on concrete (where I picked up my first stick) or a grass field, I know I am where I belong. The feeling knowing the ball is secure in my stick, of the breeze blowing through my braids as I run on the field—that feeling is completely amazing.”
Recently committed to play Division II lacrosse after graduation, J remains focused on her studies in addition to practice. She hopes to study business management in college because, as she says, “I’m going to start a nonprofit organization just like CityLax so that I can give other kids the same opportunities that I have.”
Most importantly, J would like to thank the donors and volunteers of CityLax; “If it wasn’t for Citylax I wouldn’t be where I am today so I thank you for your leadership and support. It’s you who help us get one step closer to our goals and successful futures. I want you all to understand the importance and the impact that you have on each and every one of our lives.”
As for us at CityLax—we want to thank J for the dedication and passion she brings to every CityLax event. We can’t wait to see the impact that she continues to have on her own community throughout the rest of high school and eventually as the founder of her own nonprofit.