The YMCA of Metro North was recently awarded a $7,000 grant from the CMAK Foundation to host the Race4Chase at the Lynn Y. Race4Chase is a free, 6-week summer program for children ages 6-12 interested in learning how to compete in a triathlon. This program is named in memory of 7-year-old Chase Michael Anthony Kowalski who was tragically killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012. The YMCA of Metro North will be one of the first YMCAs in Massachusetts to offer this program.
Rebecca Kowalski, Chase’s mother, created the CMAK Foundation to turn the loss of her son into a positive experience for young people. Chase competed in his first triathlon at age 6, and his family wanted to capture his competitive spirit and encourage healthy lifestyles and strong families and communities. CMAK Foundation sponsors programs at 24 YMCAs in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and South Carolina. To date, the CMAK Foundation has been able to teach 2,947 children how to compete in triathlons through 29 different programs.
Participants receive expert coaching in swimming, cycling, running, strength training, flexibility, and the fundamentals of nutrition. At the end of the summer, all participants have the opportunity to compete in a youth triathlon hosted in Newport, RI. Participants also receive their own bike if they do not have one to compete in the program.
“My hopes for our triathlon, is to engage the youth in Lynn in a new and different way. The motivation that this program is run in memory of a young person who lost their life so tragically, allows me, as a coach, to remind our youth that are so lucky to have these opportunities to learn, grow, and thrive. No matter what.” said CJ Jeanmary, Teen and Sports Director at the Lynn YMCA.
CJ Jeanmary also noted that the program will fund swimming lessons for children who would otherwise not have the opportunity and teach them potentially life-saving swim skills.
The CMAK Foundation receives support from its founding partners, the Waterbury YMCA and USA Triathlon and hopes to increase the number of children it serves each year.
“While the tragedy of the events at Sandy Hook still weighs heavy on our hearts, it is an honor to continue this program in Chase’s memory. We look forward to introducing the sport of triathlon to youth in Lynn, and we are so appreciative of this grant which allows us to do so,” said Laura Chadwell, Director of Grants and Mission Advancement at the YMCA of Metro North.
Registration for the Race4Chase program will begin in June. The Lynn YMCA will train a total 25-30 children in triathlon competition.
About the YMCA of Metro North
The YMCA of Metro North is a leading Massachusetts-based nonprofit organization providing health, fitness, and youth development opportunities to the nearly 60,000 individuals it serves annually. Its branch locations in Lynn, Melrose, Peabody, Saugus, and Stoneham host a range of programs with access to more than $1,200,000 in scholarships for families to attend the Y Academy, summer camps, and other evidence-based programs such as LiveSTRONG at the Y, Enhance for seniors, cardiac rehab maintenance, and more. Learn more: www.ymcametronorth.org.