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YMCA Honors Former City Councilman Matthews


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Former City Council Member I. Charles Matthews was recently honored by the YMCA of Greater Hartford.

Mathews of West Hartford received the 2014 Robert C. Knox, Jr. YMCA Distinguished Leadership Award at the YMCA’s 162 Annual Meeting.

The award honors the memory of the late Robert C. Knox, Jr., a Hartford insurance executive, whose dedication helped the YMCA grow, prosper and fulfill its mission to serve others.

Officials said the award is the YMCA of Greater Hartford’s highest honor recognizing volunteers.

After a career in corporate law and city government, I. Charles found a new calling in the Y.

“I’ve got 4,000 kids at the Wilson-Gray YMCA,” Matthews said and his volunteers are mentoring them all, starting in grade school with a program that brings in speakers– doctors, lawyers, engineers, business leaders– who give them a glimpse beyond their neighborhoods.

Matthew said he has helped to expand community engagement with the state and Hartford city official and to increase the Y’s presence within the local neighborhood by establishing community events.

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YMCA Receives $50,000 Grant


HARTFORD — The YMCA of Greater Hartford announced on Tuesday that it has received a $50,000 grant from First Niagara Bank  in support of the YMCA Teen Incentive Program, which provides at-risk teens with the tools and encouragement needed to achieve academic excellence and work readiness.

In Hartford, Conn. and Springfield, Mass., where the program is implemented, approximately 80 percent those cities’ high school students live in poverty, and half of all Black and Latino students never graduate.

Together, the YMCA’s of Greater Hartford and Greater Springfield are taking a regional approach to overcoming the obstacles young people face on the path to success, YMCA officials said.

First Niagara has also pledged $50,000 to the YMCA of Greater Springfield to support its programming for at-risk teens.

“Through First Niagara’s support, the YMCA is able to help at-risk youth in our region become tomorrow’s workforce and community leaders,” said James Morton, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Hartford.

 

 

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Olympian Joins Others To Celebrate Champions


HARTFORD — Janet Evans and Kim and Stew Leonard, Jr. team up for Downtown YMCA’s annual charity event:  “YMCA Celebrates Champions.”

 The five-time Olympic swimming medalist and water safety advocates of Stew Leonard’s of Stew Leonards food stores in Connecticut and New York and his wife Kim have been named honorary chairs of the Downtown YMCA’s, a branch of the YMCA of Greater Hartford.

  The YMCA Celebrates Champions  dinner is the major fundraising event of the Downtown YMCA on Nov. 12  at the Marriott Hartford Downtown. The reception will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m.  

Proceeds from the event will be used to support YMCA programs in Hartford including “Read to Succeed” and “Everybody in the Pool.”  

Water safety education initiatives are especially personal to the Leonards. The couple lost their 21 month-old son in a drowning accident in 1989.  The next year, they founded the Stew Leonard III Children’s Charities foundation, which has raised more than $1 million dollars and has helped 25,000 children learn to swim. 


The foundation provides funding to local YMCA’s for swimming scholarships, lifeguard training and water safety equipment.   “Kim and I are honored to partner with Janet Evans on an issue that is near and dear to our hearts,” says Stew Leonard, Jr., President and CEO of Stew Leonard’s and Co-founder of Stew Leonard III Children’s Charities. 

 “Janet is an accomplished and highly respected Olympic swimming champion with the same mission as us-to create awareness about the importance of water safety and save lives.”   Three-time Olympian Janet Evans is considered the greatest female distance swimmer of all time. Her world records for the 400, the 800 and the 1500m, set in 1998 and 1999 have yet to be broken.  

WTIC’s Joe D’Ambrosio,  the voice of the UCONN Huskies, is celebrity Emcee and auctioneer.

For ticket or sponsorship information, contact Natalie Zembrzuski of the YMCA of Greater Hartford at 860-522-9622.

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