Connecticut in Color: Pull-Ups for Cape Verde

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As many people think about physical fitness in the new year, what about working out for a cause? 

That’s the objective of Glastonbury resident Eddie Esteves, who’s on a mission to do 1,000 pull-ups, raising money to build playgrounds in the country of his birth: Cape Verde.

“I figured I would take a task that was very difficult, which is a pull-up, combine it with another task, which is very difficult as well, which is to do a fundraiser. And then to top it off, you get a 70-year-old guy to try and bring that all together," Esteves said.

At first glance, you’d probably never believe Esteves is 70 years old, but he’s shocking people in the gym and online with his fitness for fundraising. 

Cape Verde is an island chain off the northwest coast of Africa. Esteves was born there before coming to the United States with his parents as a small child. 

But despite moving away long ago, Esteves says the islands and their culture have always been a part of him. 

Now he’s a member of New England-based Cabo Verdeans United, which has a mission of helping children in Cape Verde through play and education. 

Started by two sisters in 2001, they’ve built a playground on each of the country’s islands and now hope to build two more this year if they reach their goal of raising $30,000.

“I went back to Cape Verde to visit family, my sister and I did 20 years later. And notice that nothing had changed for the children of cave art. And that's how we started the organization and the playground,” said Genie Lomba, co-founder of Cabo Verdeans United.

“Playing is a big part of growing up and being strong and, you know, being a good person because it's just very important,” said CVU President Stephanie Ramos.

Esteves' campaign has gotten the support of fellow gym goers at The Edge Fitness in Glastonbury, with hopes to include the chain’s other locations. And there’s a sweet reward. 

Esteves' daughters own Brown Butter Creations Bakery in Glastonbury and they’re giving free cupcakes to those who donate to the campaign.

He's got a few hundred pull-ups left to reach his goal of 1,000 and he’s making them look easy while hopefully changing the lives of countless kids in the process.

“Pull-ups are difficult, but pull-ups with a purpose are pretty easy," Esteves said.

To donate to Playgrounds for Cabo Verde, click here.

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