Quitting time at 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 6 was the end of a long workday for many people, but for a group of Wilton volunteers, it meant putting a little elbow grease and extra time to help a good cause. About a dozen volunteers showed up to help refurbish 60 bicycles for the Wilton Family YMCA branch of the Riverbrook YMCA‘s “Race For Chase” program.
The program helps at risk Norwalk children participate in an active summer camp, all in memory of 6-year-old Chase Kowalski who was killed in the Sandy Hook shootings. Kowalski’s love of triathlon sports inspired Connecticut YMCAs to team up every summer to host a program for at risk urban youth that provides them access to sports and recreation, breakfast and lunch, and educational programming, complete with supplies, clothing, bicycles and bike helmets.
The program kicks off today, as campers will report to Brien McMahon High School in Norwalk. But three weeks ago technicians from Cannondale Bicycles/Doral Sports and Outdoor Sports Center, and other individuals volunteered their time to tune-up the bicycles and get them ready for the kids to be able to train–and often learn how to ride for the first time. More than 60 bicycles were donated by generous Wilton families.
During the summer the kids get to swim, bike and run under the supervision of Wilton YMCA fitness staff and counselors. They’ll also be cheered on by Lt. David Hartman of the Wilton Police Department, partnering with the program to provide a positive role model and connection between the participants and law enforcement. Race for Chase eventually culminates in an August triathlon for the kids to compete in.
This year the Wilton YMCA program will enroll around 40 participants, and is sponsored by Realty Seven and Doral Sports/Cannondale Bicycles.