London Booker credits Roc E6 for helping him carve his own path.

Blaxers Blog: How the Roc E6 Program is Changing Lives


Dedication to service is a driver that helps communities stay intact and inspire generations that follow. Coaches often serve as second parents and mentors to the players they guide in the right direction. In the sphere of lacrosse in Rochester, London Booker embodies the definition of dedication to community during his service coaching the ROC E6 program.

“Coaches have one job — love the players — and a player’s job is to love each other,” Booker said.

LONDON BOOKER

Hometown: Rochester, N.Y.
College: Roberts Wesleyan (2013-16)
High School: Gates-Chili (N.Y.)

Notable Accolades:

  • Roc E6 vice president

  • FCA Upstate coach

EACH ONE, TEACH ONE

In 1988, a mentorship fostered via Big Brothers Big Sisters led to a passion that gives Rochester youth opportunities not normally afforded.

Roc E6 co-founder and president Arthur Alvut had volunteered at the local chapter and showed Roc E6 co-founder and director Arkee Allen the ropes of life and lacrosse. Alvut played two seasons with Cortland State in the 1980s while studying economics. Under Alvut’s wing, Allen became an all-American wrestler at Columbia. After Roc Wrestling was established, Allen sought Alvut’s help with launching a lacrosse counterpart.

In 2005, Roc E6 Lacrosse debuted as a non-profit lacrosse program for first through eighth graders that roots itself on the core values of education, empowerment, exercise, ethics, equality and exposure. Annually, the non-profit consists of 100-130 participants. Aside from its spring schedule, the program transitions into a summer travel team for student-athletes who lack the financial accessibility to participate in the travel lacrosse circuit. 

Roc E6 is an Urban Lacrosse Alliance Program and was the recipient of a diversity grant from USA Lacrosse.


“Coaches have one job — love the players — and a player’s job is to love each other.”


“As the first graduate of the Roc E6 program, I’ve been a part of the journey in every facet, and the experience isn’t like any that I had previously,” Booker said. “With Roc E6, there is just a loving environment that seems to create a space where differences are accepted, and everyone is valued. We understand that we are responsible for catering to the needs of a future D-I All-American and a young person who is just seeking an opportunity to distract them from their daily struggles.”

Allen and Alvut are the largest influences in Booker’s life. Their mentorship launched Booker’s lacrosse journey and avenues into coaching.

“I believe it is important to give back to your community because it’s my hope to leave this world a better place than I found it,” Booker said. “This all begins with mentoring and pouring into young people who may one day turn around and do the same. Thus, creating a more prosperous community for everyone.”

In 2006, Booker attended Roc E6’s summer camp for children in grades third through sixth. Unfortunately, he wasn’t eligible to play on the newly formed youth team. The spry seventh grader stuck around as a coach and assisted the program in any way he could until he was in 10th grade at Gates-Chili High School.

“My journey with coaching is definitely an interesting one, simply because I've been coaching longer than I've actually played,” Booker said. “After my first Roc E6 summer camp in 2006, Art and Arkee worked together to create the first-ever Roc E6 youth lacrosse team in the city. From then on, I always made it a point to coach, give back to Roc E6 and help the younger players who currently play in the city.”

Booker’s dedication as a high schooler meant his mother drove him from practice around 5:30 p.m. to help coach Roc E6 practices later. Even after he matriculated into college, Booker was excited to give back after his practices at Roberts Wesleyan.

“I also credit my coaching development to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Upstate program,” said Booker, who is also a Sankofa clinician. “I participated in the program as a player, huddle leader, assistant and current head coach. FCA provided me a space to play and coach lacrosse while sharing my faith.”








MY BROTHER’S KEEPER

Booker’s call to serve extended beyond his coaching duties, as he made major impacts in his players’ lives. A few of his pupils would later become notable recruits making noise nationally.

Incoming Albany long-stick midfielder Jahmeir Warfield and Westtown School midfielder Chrishawn Hunter gained a heartfelt understanding of what mentorship entails. Both players found support and confidence as Booker took them into his home.

While coaching the FCA Upstate program, Booker sacrificed his paychecks to support Roc E6 players like Hunter and Warfield.

Warfield described Roc E6 as a family and brotherhood, as it provided him with opportunities and elevation from a different perspective.

“At times when I first started playing, I was pretty much homeless, and his family took me in,” Warfield said. “I stayed with him for a stretch of time during the school year. Even in college, he would train with me for the entire summer while devoting his time and energy into crafting my game. His dedication struck a fire within me. “

To Hunter, Roc E6 means the world to him. He credits the program for his ascension. He felt empowered by the program's training and mentorship qualities with local youth.

“In the seventh grade, I remember when London asked the team about who wanted to play at the next level,” Hunter said. “Since then, he helped me sign up for school and my driving hours off the field. London has devoted himself to lacrosse and helped grow the game in our inner city. It’s a dream come true to represent Rochester while playing prep school lacrosse.”

As Roc E6 annually struggled to recruit new coaches, it created a solution that benefited its developmental ranks. The organization created the Junior Coaches program, an initiative in which Roc E6’s post-eighth grade graduates volunteer as coaches to guide youth players. Roc E6 provides a stipend to each junior coach committed throughout the spring season. This spring marks the first wave of high school graduates who coached during the initiative.

“We developed this program with the intent of having Black and Brown coaches working with minority players,” Booker said. “It’s important that current coaches of color are being put in a position to earn these executive positions. Far too often, there’s competent and qualified coaches of color who fight barriers of achievement and a foundation of nepotism that is ingrained in this predominantly white sport.”




In 2005, Roc E6 Lacrosse debuted as a non-profit lacrosse program for first through eighth graders.


SCHOOL DAYS

Lacrosse has bestowed Booker joy and opportunities as a Rochester product. He views the sport as a medium that helps him find his identity while expressing himself spiritually, emotionally and physically.

While at Gates-Chili High School, lacrosse provided Booker a safe space to develop himself as a player and person. He made a difficult but necessary adjustment to pursue lacrosse endeavors by transferring out of the Rochester City School District for Gates-Chili in the suburbs.

After matriculating in 2012, Booker took his midfield talents to Roberts Wesleyan, where he felt was the best fit as a new Division II program and religious institution.

“My time at Roberts Wesleyan was truly one of the best experiences of my life,” he said. “Walking into a new program as a freshman allows you to take part in building the foundation for future success, and with my skill level at the time, it was the perfect place for me to be.”

After subsequent seasons, Booker became more ingrained into the program’s fabric as a captain and team chaplain. He feels grateful to Rocky Delfino for guiding his development into a better man and player. While at Roberts Wesleyan, Booker participated in the student government and numerous clubs.

“Similar to most graduating high school seniors, I was not prepared for the academic rigor of a four-year institution,” Booker said. “My major changed twice during my time despite staying in the educational diaspora. However, the small tight-knit community of Roberts Wesleyan provided me support and really made success unavoidable.”

In 2016, Booker graduated from Roberts Wesleyan with a bachelor’s degree in Childhood and Special Education. He recently graduated from SUNY Brockport with a master’s degree in School Counseling.

Since 2016, Booker has taught in the Rochester City School District.