By: Donald Eng

June 11, 2014


Fifty children from the Valley and the surrounding area had a day of fun at the Sports Center of Connecticut on Saturday.

The event was organized by the Barnum Financial Group’s Foundation for Life, First Niagara Bank and Griffin Hospital and included children referred by TEAM Inc., the Lower Naugatuck Valley Parent Resource Center and the United Way of Coastal Fairfield County.

First Niagara donated three hours of play for each of the children and their families, including mini golf, laser tag, bowling and use of the facility’s batting cages. Team members from Griffin Hospital’s Community Outreach Department and Safe Kids Greater Naugatuck Valley program were on hand to give out free helmets to each of the children, and to teach them how to properly adjust the helmets for maximum safety while riding.

As a final surprise, the Foundation for Life gave each child a brand new bicycle, a moment Kristy Brown said was always exciting for the children and volunteers.

“All the kids know is that they’ve been invited to a day of fun,” Brown said. “We had the bikes set up in a side area, and we lined the kids up and told them we had one more surprise for them. When they came around the corner and saw the bikes, it was like Christmas.”

Video of the unveiling is at the foundation’s Facebook page, Brown said the moment is especially rewarding for employees of Barnum Financial, who donate about 500 bikes a year at similar events.

“The kids get super excited,” Brown said. “One of them had used his bike to get around after school, and his bike had been stolen a little while ago and he was devastated because he had no way to get around. He saw the bikes and he started dancing and yelling, ‘No one’s going to touch this one.’”