WESTON, Conn. -- State Rep. John Shaban (R-Easton, Redding, Weston) is applauding members of the Connecticut Grizzlies Football Federation for their recent College Tour, funded in part by Shaban’s “Athletes in the Community” (AITC) program.
Athletes in the Community (formerly known as Giants in the Community) is a non-profit organization that was created by Shaban when he played for, and helped manage, the semi-professional Connecticut Giants football team. The goal of Athletes in the Community is to teach young athletes to "work as hard at life as you do at sports."
The Grizzlies are an Intercollegiate Club Football Federation team in southwestern Connecticut that pull Connecticut community college athletes into a single football team to compete with college club teams in the Northeast.
The team was started by coach Bernie Armstrong, a former teammate of Shaban’s and current AITC board member, with the purpose of keeping former high school athletes, most of whom would otherwise not go to college, involved in sports and school.
To be part of the Grizzlies, each player must enroll in a minimum of nine credit hours per semester, participate in mandatory study halls, and have their grades and progress tracked monthly.
“The program is making significant progress,” Armstrong commented. “Many of our student athletes are now pursuing degrees at 4-year universities throughout the country. That’s what this year’s College Tour was all about.”
Consistent with their academic success, the Grizzlies were also champions from 2010 to 2012 in New England’s Yankee Collegiate Football Conference. “This program is special because it incentivizes young men to go back to school and improve their lives,” said Shaban.
In addition to the funds provided by AITC, the Grizzlies are funded by player fees and private donations. “I’m hopeful that the State can find a way to help this program,” Shaban added, “because for a few hundred dollars per student athlete, we can provide these young men with a chance at a promising future.”
For more information about the Connecticut Grizzlies, please visit http://www.swcgrizz.com/ .
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