connecticut in color

Program Helps Kids in Greater Hartford to Create a Legacy

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In the North End of Hartford, there’s a very special nonprofit that’s helped hundreds of kids set themselves up for amazing futures.

Its leaders say they just want to give kids the tools and opportunity needed to go out and get their success. In this week’s Connecticut in Color, we introduce you to Legacy Foundation of Hartford.

There’s a motto that Greg Jones lives by: “Talent is universal. Opportunities are not.”

For the last decade, he’s worked to make sure that kids in the Greater Hartford area have the opportunities to create their own great legacies.

"What we are doing is creating a legacy. We are trying to engage and to try to leave a footprint for these youth to follow," Jones said.

After finding that traditional corporate give-back volunteer opportunities weren’t creating the impact he wanted to see, he decided to begin a program to work directly with kids, now known as the Legacy Foundation of Hartford.

In the program, 50-60 kids each year come together outside of school -- virtually during the pandemic -- to work with a team of teachers on math, language arts, social studies, and social justice.

"My mother used to always say get as much education as you can because they can’t take it from you. So that’s built into Legacy,” Jones said.

Beyond the classroom, Legacy kids also learn through experiences. Jones says he wants the kids in the program to have the same experiences as any prep school student in Connecticut, so the students take trips to ski and snowboard, they’ve attended polo matches, boating days, and more.

And because the focus is the pursuit of education, there’s also college coaching. Jones says they want every student to pursue the higher education that’s right for them.

ReAnna Barclay is that Legacy Foundation dream realized.

The 18-year-old joined Legacy after moving to Connecticut from Jamaica -- without her parents -- during her junior year of high school. She was connected to Legacy, and now is a student at Tufts University, on a full scholarship studying mechanical engineering with the plan to build medical devices and prosthetics for children.

“It was so great for me to have a support system of people who were willing to push me, who were willing to provide me resources and opportunities that I probably wouldn’t have found by myself,” said Barclay.

Legacy is located on Albany Avenue, something Jones says is intentional, so that kids in the community know opportunity exists in their neighborhood and people will come there to help them succeed.

"It’s not like you have to take them to see the people all the time. We can bring the people here and let them show that we are equally as comfortable,” Jones said.

There’s a nominal charge of $25 for kids to be a part of the Legacy program. Jones says he wants each participant to have some form of investment in the program, without cost being a barrier to participation. Kids can also earn Legacy dollars to cover their fee so they don’t have out-of-pocket costs.

The foundation is funded by charitable contributions, grants, and other donations.

To learn more about how your child can take part in The Legacy Foundation of Hartford’s programs, click here.

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