Members of the pro lacrosse team took time to sign a pledge and encourage kids to stop bullying others.

What started out as a promotional idea for Team Coordinator Anne Marie Leonardi was transformed it a motivational reminder for the kids of Hurricanes Lacrosse.

“Well, I started with just thinking about having bracelets made that said ‘Hurricanes’ for the kids. All the kids seem to be wearing them,” said Leonardi. “Then I was watching the news about a girl that committed suicide because she was bullied. That is when it just clicked, I thought we can talk to the kids about not being a bully and they can have something to remind them about sticking up for kids.”

From that story, the slogan, “We Got Your Back,” was developed and the Hurricanes’ “anti-bullying” campaign was born. All the 115 kids in the organization and 16 coaches will wear the plastic bracelets with the mantra. The cost is two for $5.00 with a portion of the proceeds going to a local charity.

“I felt with all the kids in our program if we can make a difference in one kids live it’s worth it,” said Leonardi. “I told the kids not only do you have your teammates back on and off the field, but you should also look out for the kid who might not have the ‘cool’ shoes or who are different or have different beliefs. We asked the kids that got a bracelet to sign our pledge saying we will stand up against bullying and our teams will not stand for it.”

Rochester Knighthawks Joe Walters and Grant Catalino signed the Hurricanes’ anti-bullying pledge this evening in-between providing lacrosse instruction to the three age groups at Total Sports Experience. In return, the two local lacrosse products, from Irondequoit and Webster Schroeder respectively, received bracelets to signify their support for the program.

“Bullying is a very prevalent problem, especially with the advances in social media. It is important to raise awareness and make a stand against this serious issue, and joining Hurricanes’ "We Got Your Back" campaign can accomplish this," said Walters. “Bullying exists because of bad choices. The choices we make in our everyday lives not only impacts ourselves, but the people around us. Joining the campaign will better our community,” added Catalino.

The 2010 statistics on are staggering as about 56 percent of all students have witnessed a bullying crime take place at school and 71 percent of students reported bullying as an on-going problem. Even more alarming is that an estimated 282,000 students are reportedly attacked in high schools throughout the United States each month.

To join the effort against bullying and support the Hurricanes, go to or contact Anne Marie Leonardi at (585) 746-3779.