Lacrosse in Guatemala began in 2005 when we contacted Hanley Denning, the founder of Safe Passage, a program trying to lift the lives of young children out of the poverty of the Guatemala City garbage dump. In July 2005, a small group of lacrosse players from Maine took equipment and t-shirts to the children at Safe Passage and lacrosse began in Guatemala. We have visited Guatemala every summer since to help these kids learn the game, have fun, make friends, and build a brighter future. With leadership from Rodrigo Pascual, Carlos Gomez, and Megan McAdams, the children of Safe Passage have shared their lacrosse with children in six other communities, while they have learned the value of helping others, no matter how much you may feel you have, or don’t have, in your life.
In 2005, Carlos Gomez quickly became the head of the lacrosse program at Safe Passage, and then Rodrigo Pascual, who was also there from day one, wearing his Superman shirt, expanded lacrosse at Safe Passage and throughout Guatemala. Today, Rodrigo leads youth lacrosse efforts throughout challenged communities in Guatemala in partnership with Maya Lacrosse and through his Guatemala-based nonprofit, Manos Amigas.
In 2005, we made lacrosse goals out of sticks and newspaper. We played on a hard dirt field in a dangerous part of town very near the dump. Much as changed; some things haven’t. We still have much more to do.