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Chelsea Cohen Fitness Academy to Call Norwalk Home

March 8, 2011

The Fairfield County Sports Commission announced today that its Chelsea Cohen Fitness Academy will initially be housed at the George Washington Carver Community Center in Norwalk. The Commission and the Carver Center began to develop a partnership last year when Carver was named one of three county youth organizations to benefit from Commission financial support.

In 2010, along with the Carver Center, the Stamford Youth Foundation and the Cardinal Shehan Center in Bridgeport were also beneficiaries. The Commission again is awarding $2,500 grants to each of these three groups, as well as offer assistance throughout 2011 using the vast resources the Commission possesses.

“Today we are reaffirming our commitment to these three outstanding youth organizations that serve thousands of young people in Stamford, Norwalk, Bridgeport and beyond,” said FCSC executive director Tom Chiappetta. “Our newly formed Chelsea Cohen Fitness Academy will be the umbrella program to support their efforts, as well as all others in the county working to improve the health and wellness of our children. Having the Academy begin its work at the Carver in Norwalk, the home of Chelsea Cohen, is truly fitting as we continue to honor her memory.”

In 2006, the Commission created the Chelsea Cohen Courage Award. The former Norwalk High soccer star was the Commission’s first Courage Award recipient. She passed away in 2006 after a courageous bout with a rare form of cancer of the nervous system. The award recognizes the person in the sports community who has shown inspirational strength in battling life-altering obstacles. The Cohen Fitness Academy was formed in August 2010.

The Carver Center will provide the Cohen Fitness Academy periodic use of its facility for Academy fitness programs and activities.

The Cohen Academy is a countywide, collaborative effort to provide more awareness and educational focus in providing underserved youth access to a more active and healthy lifestyle. The Academy works with existing facilities, youth organizations and service providers by offering additional resources to supplement and complement their efforts, while filling in gaps in programs that had previously been very dependent on local, state and federal funding. It’s designed to be the rallying point to engage all important community stakeholders in children’s health, nutrition and in the fight to combat childhood obesity.

One of the main vehicles to extend the reach of the Academy is the Sports Commission’s web site, which is currently being updated. By creating a resource hub for health and fitness programs and services available throughout the county, the Commission web site will be a central depository for that information as well as an inventory of youth programs and fitness professionals. The web site also will provide a vast supply of content, including articles, fitness tips, and other educational tools, to make the site the one-stop resource for healthy living for county residents. The web site will be the driving force in sharing best practices and fostering collaborative efforts between communities and youth organizations The Commission’s partnership with Stamford Hospital and its staff will be a key element in the web site’s efforts.

The George Washington Carver Community Center of Norwalk is celebrating its 73rd year of success in changing young people’s lives. Beginning in elementary school, the Carver Center’s goal is to motivate students to reach for a post-secondary education and to provide the support they need to do so successfully. The Center serves youth from kindergarten through high school in its daily after-school programs at the Center and has recently expanded its middle school program to include all four Norwalk middle schools. The Center’s three core programs serve elementary, middle and high school students by providing educational, recreational and enrichment programming.

The Cardinal Shehan Center is a non-profit organization located in Bridgeport, CT. The Center’s mission is to enrich lives through learning. The Shehan Center offers a variety of programs and activities that address the educational, recreational, cultural, and social needs of moderate and low-income families and young people. Programs include homework help, tutoring, photography, dance and karate, summer day camp, basketball leagues for 5th 6th 7th & 8th grades and a summer and fall high school basketball league.

Stamford Youth Foundation creates and operates quality programs accessible to all of Stamford’s children through its unique ability to link resources, while seeking to inspire attributes that develop sound character, build a connected community and motivate our youth to achieve their personal best. In school year 2008-09, over 2,500 students participated in 12 SYF programs. Core goals of SYF are to develop programs that (1) bring together students in our diverse neighborhoods to play together and work towards common goals, and (2) energize our students and develop in them habits that promote confidence, commitment, a strong work ethic, and respect for others & themselves.

The Fairfield County Sports Commission is a 501c3 non-profit organization that is the one-stop resource for the sports community in the area, with a mission of promoting fitness and personal development through sports. The Commission, with the exception of the executive director, is an all-volunteer group that gives financial support and its resources back to its communities, primarily focused on the 110,000 school age youngsters it can reach with its fitness awareness education programs.

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