Vision: To turn tragedy into triumph by healing and strengthening our families and communities.
Mission: In remembrance of Chase Kowalski, the students and educators of the Sandy Hook tragedy, we will be a positive force to inspire community healing through family and children focused initiatives and programs. By focusing on emotional healing and physical health and wellness, we will positively change the lives of children and their families.
Background: Chase Michael Anthony Kowalski was an amazing son, brother, and friend who was taken from us on December 14, 2012 in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. Chase’s heart was filled with love and he touched all of the people that he came into contact with. He loved sports of all kinds and had an incredibly competitive spirit. Among Chase's favorite sports were baseball, auto racing, and running. In fact, Chase began running competitively at age two in track races. At age six, Chase asked to be entered into his first triathlon – in his first ever competition, he took on the field and won his age group!
The Kowalski family wanted to capture Chase’s competitive spirit and vitality in creating a charity in his honor with a focus on health and wellness for children and their families. CMAK
Sandy Hook Memorial Foundation’s mission has pursued programs and initiatives that encourage personal improvement, healthy lifestyles and strong family and communities.
Program Description: Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program
The CMAK Foundation established the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon program in 2014 in partnership with the Greater Waterbury YMCA to embody the vision and mission of the CMAK Foundation by introducing youth to the sport of triathlon and sharing the experience that Chase Kowalski achieved at such an early age. The program promotes a greater self-confidence, healthier lifestyles and knowledge for the participants that obstacles can be overcome and success achieved through hard work and dedication. They will also be able to
share in the happiness and camaraderie of being part of a team striving for a similar goal and feel the encouragement and appreciation from their families and their community which participates in the culminating event.
Designed as a six-week goal-oriented summer program, the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program provides kids with expert instruction in swimming, cycling, running, strength training and flexibility, and also teaches them the fundamentals of good nutrition and critical safety practices, under the supportive guidance of coaches, lifeguards and instructors. Implementing a custom-designed training program, the coaches provide the youth athletes with all the equipment, knowledge, and one-on-one support they need to become triathletes. At the culmination of the training camp, all of the youth athletes compete in a USAT-sanctioned triathlon race staged by the CMAK and the sites. The program provides breakfast and lunch to participants a locations where there is a need.
The Program is FREE for all participants. The participants are selected by the local sites through an application process, choosing the youths that would most benefit from the program. Through this process, participants come from a variety of cultures, many from underserved communities which would otherwise not have the opportunity to be exposed to the sport of triathlon. Some children may not know how to ride a bike or swim, but at the end of the program are capable of completing the youth triathlon. Participants who do not have a bicycle of their own are allowed to take a bicycle from the program home with them for their own enjoyment after the Finale, encouraging them to continue to use the skills that they had develop during the program.
Year (s) Participants Sites States FINALES Bikes Home Learned to Bike Learned to Swim
14-'19 2947 96 3 14 347 524 582
2014 93 3 1 1 x 22 12
2015 257 8 1 1 x 74 58
2016 458 15 2 2 49 103 107
2017 644 20 3 3 119 70 113
2018 726 24 3 4 86 105 124
2019 769 26 3 3 93 150 168