In the early 1990s, the PLA introduced lacrosse to four Philadelphia middle schools with the cooperation and support of the Philadelphia School District, the Philadelphia Department of Recreation and relevant community athletic associations. The programs featured academic and athletic development and a "stay in school" message. State grant funding through PennServe was secured to support academic and life-skills mentoring for "at risk" program participants, with mentoring provided by older students from Philadelphia area high schools. The mission was to partner with schools, promoters, the School District and others to teach the game of lacrosse and encourage and support positive youth development.

Current initiatives include those led by the Black Women in Sports Foundation, which is operated by former Temple coach and National Lacrosse Hall of Fame member, Tina Sloan Green. These include an after school program at Martha Washington Elementary School (44th and Aston) and the Discovery School (50th and Parkside). The Physical Education Department at Martha Washington School also incorporates lacrosse into its curriculum. The Haverford College men's lacrosse team conduced a series of clinics in the spring and fall of 2005 for middle school students at Discovery Charter School. Haverford players report that the experience is very rewarding. The clinic sessions lasted about 90 minutes and consisted of rudimentary skill instructions and some scrimmaging, which gave the kids a feel for the fast paced action.
Nationally, US Lacrosse is increasingly allocating resources to promote the development of motivational programs targeted to reach "at risk" students, mostly those in an urban setting. Private corporations and foundations are increasingly interested in providing grant support for these initiatives, including United Parcel Service, which is supporting development of similar programs in Massachusetts on a state-wide basis. The PLA's Inner City Lacrosse Development Program of Philadelphia is part of the BRIDGE Initiative of US Lacrosse ("Building Relationships to Initiate Diversity, Growth and Enrichment"). The BRIDGE Program mission statement is as follows: "We work collaboratively to introduce and expand the sport of lacrosse in nontraditional and underserved communities to embody diversity of players, coaches, officials, and supporters. BRIDGE programs promote individual and collective growth of participants through instruction, opportunity and relationships consistent with the identities and needs of each community."

For more information on the PLA's Inner City Lacrosse Development Program, to get involved as a clinician, volunteer, promoter, Program Director, donor or to learn more about corporate sponsorship opportunities, please contact Tina Sloan Green (215-204-1949) or Chris Bates, Head Men's Coach at Drexel (215-895-1859). Donations may be sent to the PLA Inner City Program, c/o Steve Kotch, PLA Treasurer, 107 Steinbright Drive, Collegeville, PA 19426. Among other things, you or your company will be recognized as a PLA sponsor, thanks for your consideration.