DARIEN — The University of Richmond women’s lacrosse coaching staff periodically sends out emails about volunteering opportunities to its players.
One last winter caught the eye of Charlett Stevenson, going to the saved folder rather than the trash. It was the chance in the first week of August to go to Jamaica as part of the Fields Of Growth international lacrosse program.
“I just love doing something like this and I love traveling,” said Stevenson, who this fall will be starting her junior year at Richmond. “That’s a big aspect of it, to do some volunteering. I don’t feel selfish when I go somewhere. It’s cool, but I’m giving back at the same time.”
Stevenson, a 2012 graduate of Darien High School, will be part of a group that will live in a Jamaican village for a week. Besides giving lacrosse instruction to children unfamiliar with the sport, she will also be teaching English and working in a hospital.
“It’s a really good opportunity to get Richmond lacrosse out there because no one from my school has done something like this,” said Stevenson, who is coming off a breakout season. “I coached youth lacrosse in Darien last summer and I just loved it. This is going to be like a combination of everything that I like in one thing.”
Richmond assistant coach Kate Lawlor, who circulated the information about the program to the team, was not surprised when Stevenson responded.
“She cares deeply about people, and when she got back to me I thought it was perfect for her,” Lawlor said. “She has always taken advantage of service opportunities we do here. She thinks deeply, always taking things in. It’s unique. You do your work and play sports and forget there are other things going on in the world.”
Stevenson said she was one of many Richmond players that worked in a local public school teaching lacrosse to 6th and 7th graders who had never heard of the sport.
Discussing her Jamaica trip, Stevenson said, “Six days isn’t a lot of time to implement something so it will be interesting to see the kind of impact I can have.”
Stevenson’s impact with the Spiders this season was without question. After getting some playing time as a freshman, Stevenson led the team this spring with 35 goals.
“I worked hard this year and I kind of learned to play for my team and myself at the same time,” Stevenson said.
Lawlor said Stevenson matured after going through the customary transition from high school to college.
“Leading the team in goals as a sophomore is remarkable,” Lawlor said. “One thing we noticed is she came back to school this fall having put in a lot of work the previous summer.”
Stevenson said she is confident last year was just the first step in what will be a continued progression.
“I feel like I have a lot more potential than I’ve shown the past year,” she said. “I know what I need to do to work on for next year, specifically, and I know what I need to get stronger in. It’s nice to have the growth of becoming, I would say, a power dodger. If you look at my goals a lot are unassisted because I like dodging. I feel that’s one of my strong suits. I know I need to keep my head up more when I am going to goal so I can look to feed somebody because the last few games the teams had scouted and would send a double team to me. I want to use that to be able to assist more.”
Stevenson is not the first member of her family to star for Richmond. Her older sister Sam was one of the leading scorers in the country as a senior in 2013. She is fifth in school history in total points, sixth in goals and ninth in assists.
“Sam was a great player but one of the nice things is I am looked at as myself,” Stevenson said. “The coaches don’t hold me to the expectation to be Sam, but to grow into my own potential.”
Stevenson is currently on a summer abroad program in Australia. She will have a few days home before heading to Jamaica.
“I’ve always been the type of person to push myself,” Stevenson said. “To do more in all aspects. Going to Jamaica, Australia, I want to push myself to be a more well-rounded person.”
Stevenson is looking to raise $2,500 to give in donations for her trip. You can click here if you would like to make a contribution.