Remembering Chase Kowalski
December 14, 2017, will mark five years without loved ones for families of children and educators killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The Newtown Bee will share remembrances of victims of 12/14 throughout the fall, written by family members or with the assistance of staff at The Newtown Bee. Not all families care to participate, and we respect that. This week, Rebecca and Stephen Chase share their words.
Chase Michael-Anthony Kowalski's first seven years of life left an indelible impression on all those who were lucky enough to experience his exuberant personality. The following five years after his untimely death have left an even greater impression on those that knew him and more so, those who never had the chance to meet him. The legacy Chase has left behind is nothing short of amazing for that of a 7-year-old.
In the past five years, the Chase Michael-Anthony Kowalski (CMAK) Sandy Hook Memorial Foundation named in his honor has changed the lives of hundreds of children and families in three states. Many families have shared stories of what being a part of our program has done for their children. We have been told of the self-esteem boost, the overcoming of self-doubt and anxieties, the desire and determination to conquer obstacles in life to become a stronger person and to be a winner just like Chase. Many families have come back to the program year after year and want to continue on as junior coaches when they are old enough.
CMAK strives to be a positive force to inspire community healing through family and children-focused initiatives and programs. By focusing on emotional healing and physical health & wellness, we will positively change the lives of children and their families.
The past four years CMAK Foundation has donated $80,000 in preschool scholarships to the greater Waterbury YMCA and has helped more than 500 children and their families with these grants.
The Race4Chase triathlon training program also started four years ago, a six-week summer triathlon training program that culminates in a USA Triathlon-sanctioned event. In the past four years this foundation has taught 290 children to swim and 269 children how to ride a bike, with a cumulative of 1,500 participants in the program and close to 800 athletes participating in our community triathlon, which takes place in July at Great Hollow Park in Monroe.
CMAK has partnered with Bikes For Kids in Essex to provide bikes to our triathlon program and also provide any child that completes the program a bike if they are in need.
As a family we grieve the loss of Chase daily. Not a day goes by that we don't feel the pain of his loss, but to honor who he was and all he did we choose, along with the CMAK Foundation, to be a driving force to help change the lives of children and families in a healthy and empowering way.
Help us on this journey by getting involved: volunteer your time and talents or simply donate. We can all make a difference in life. It's your choice to make it.
www.cmakfoundation.org for more information.