Hartford, Conn. On Thursday, February 27, The Village for Families & Children, along with representatives from ESPN, The University of Hartford’s Spirit team, State Representative Joshua Hall and philanthropists Jeffrey and Nancy Hoffman, unveiled a newly renovated gymnasium for children receiving services at The Village.
The gym will provide inspirational space for the children to exercise and is especially important during inclement weather. Some children live at The Village for four to six months while they await placement in a foster home or a return to their family.
“We are grateful to Jeffrey and Nancy Hoffman for their generosity. Their philanthropy will have a direct and significant impact on the children we serve. Additionally, we are thankful for ESPN’s gift of inspiring artwork and volunteer service,” shared Galo Rodriguez, president and CEO at The Village. “The gym provides a safe place for children to play, exercise and learn, and is a critical piece of their healing process. The gym isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity, and that’s why this renovation and enhancement is so important.”
The refreshed space, at The Village’s main campus at 1680 Albany Avenue in Hartford, was made possible by a generous donation from the Hoffmans and includes a new basketball hoop system and pads, new vinyl flooring, new lighting and upgraded electrical, a new door and a fresh coat of paint. Artwork and inspirational quotes also now adorn the walls of the gym thanks to ESPN.
“We are very pleased to be able to contribute to the quality of life at The Village. We consider ourselves part of The Village family,” shared Jeffrey Hoffman.
“Volunteerism is a big part of the culture at ESPN,” explained Don Brooks, ESPN’s Manager of Corporate Citizenship. “The project is really going to liven up the space. We hope to encourage kids to live up to their full potential through sports and be inspired by these murals.”
Also included in the project is a new sensory room to help children self-regulate as part of The Village’s psychiatric treatment program.
“The gym is a place where our children can go and just be kids. They can play and be carefree. They can leave all their worries and sorrows at the door,” explained Yvette Young, associate vice president of programs and advocacy at The Village.
At the event, The University of Hartford’s Spirit team welcomed attendees as they got a first peek at the new space.
“We know what a game-changer this renovation is for children at The Village and, as their next-door neighbors, we’re so happy to be a part of it,” said Danielle Simon, University of Hartford’s Spirit Coordinator.
The Village was one of the first agencies in the country to provide homes for neglected children. Today, The Village provides a full range of behavioral health, early and childhood youth development, substance abuse treatment, and support services for children, families and adults in the Greater Hartford region.
“The Village has a long history of supporting our most vulnerable children. I want to thank the Hoffman Family and ESPN for providing this gym so the children The Village serves have the opportunity to continue their journey toward health and wellness,” said State Representative Joshua Hall.