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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

U.S. Veterans Rowing & Kayaking Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Health, Mental Health, Mental Health Treatment, Sports, Substance Abuse Dependency, Prevention & Treatment

Mission: To help facilitate growth and recovering for disabled Veterans through recreational rehabilitation adaptive rowing & kayaking.

Results: Created the 1st National Blind Veterans' Indoor Rowing Program in 2014. Created the 1st National Blind Veterans' Rowing Team in Connecticut that went out on open water in 2015. Coached the oldest program Veteran at age 101 to complete a World Record Indoor Rowing for 1000 meter event in 2016.

Target demographics: Severely disabled and at-risk Veterans

Direct beneficiaries per year: programs were accessable to over 1200 Veterans

Geographic areas served: We provide recreational rehabiliation adaptive rowing & kayaking in over 20-locations in 9-States

Programs: Recreational rehabilitation; adaptive rowing & kayaking; Learn to Row or paddle; and elite programing which is both indoor and outdoor-year round.

Community Stories

22 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

"The resident-members of the Queens City Rowers at The Landing of Poughkeepsie are "driven" - pun intended- for personal achievement as their endurance, flexibility and strength increases," says volunteer coach Richard Humphrey of the Hudson River Rowing Association. It is matched only by their anticipation of the next scheduled practice. The three weekly rowing sessions are supplemented by balance and strengthening programs on alternating days. The Queen City Rowers are experiencing that to which any seasoned rower can attest: teamwork, discipline and trust within their club and, by extension, their community.
After 2 months on the team one of the 88 year old female members reported that her doctor was astounded by how quickly her blood pressure had lowered. She said, "she has more energy now than before she started."
Practice is at 10 am three mornings a week. We have Paul Varszegi, the Founder of U.S. Veterans' Rowing & Kayaking coaching on Tuesdays. Coach Richard Humphrey of the Hudson River Rowing Association and his volunteer members help out on Saturdays. "My team, says Karen Cornell-Froehner Director of Engaged Life at The Landing of Poughkeepsie, is waiting patiently starting at 9:30am for my staff on Thursdays to start at 10. They cannot wait to get on the ergs to see how well they are doing compared to the previous practice. They laugh, joke and encourage each other to do their best. What more do you want from a team. They are looking forward to getting on the water in a few months. Their goal is to be on the Hudson River by August!"

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I support the US Veterans Rowing & Kayaking Foundation for not only improving my physical conditioning and also my mental status and attitude. As a doctor who practiced medicine for over 50 years, I was well aware of increasing difficulty in performing simple and everyday movements. After seeking medical advice, I was advised to adopt a disciplined course of physical exercise to maintain my healthy cardiac status. Rowing is an absolute plus in initiating the program. Other benefits include competition with other rowers in various age groups. I remember vividly competing in Easton, CT to compete with other rowers in many age levels. I was seated next to a rower in excellent physical shape -- 40 years my junior! Gender difference did not detract from women competing at the same level. This was a further advantage because men and women can compete at the same level. I would not have had this experience without the stress placed on exercise and health at Atria Darien, where I live. Competing at this same level would not have been possible.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was very thankful to get the chance to participate in the US Veterans & Kayaking program here at Atria Darien because rowing is not offered at every senior living community. Rowing has strengthened my legs which has been great for me since I'm 94! I have been athletic my whole life - golf, horseback riding, tennis - pretty much everything. Rowing weekly with the coaches and the other residents has given me purpose and a feeling of connection and it encourages me to continue each week. This and the other exercise that I participate in helps me stay mobile and fit.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband was a veteran and a company commander of the 101st Airborne Division. I feel strongly about the Veterans Rowing program here at Atria Darien. He would be so proud of me for participating since I had never rowed before. Now that I row weekly in the program with wonderful coaches who instruct us in the proper procedures and form, I am really enthused about the program. The team here has even participated in the CT Indoor Rowing competition recently and I received a first place medal in my age category! Atria Darien has brought this outstanding program to us and we couldn't be more proud to support the efforts of US Veterans, Rowing & Kayaking.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This rowing program has been a great addition for my senior residents at Atria Rye Brook. They have been so accommodating and truly enhanced their quality of life. Through this program we have had three residents set world records and it was covered by news 12! I highly recommend them.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering with Veterans Rowing and Kayaking for a few years and I have to say that it's a pretty incredible organization. I'm a high-school rower and over time, I have been able to coach and help several men and women far older than me and help to provide them with both physical and psychological help. The Organization has done wonders for hundred if not thousands of veterans and truly, it's been an honor to work with them for the last couple of years.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

From time to time in the past two years, I have helped work with veterans and the elderly with Veterans Rowing and Kayaking. As a lightweight rower myself, it is great to see that people of older age will still row and gain from its benefits. I really enjoy working in an activity that I love and Veterans Rowing and Kayaking allows me to spread the culture of rowing. Working with them has been a pleasant experience and I look forward to continue to be involved.

Jason108

Client Served

Rating: 5

A few months back I reached out to Paul with VRK, after a friend had told me about the physical and mental benefits they had experienced through the sport of rowing. Paul and I talked a few times over the phone and discussed my goals, and I expressed interest in one day competing in some indoor rowing competitions, and he was so encouraging. He knew that I was an avid cyclist who likes to push my limits and go harder and longer distances each time I ride, and he acknowledged that strength and saw how it would help me to get the most out of rowing as well.

I received my loaner rowing machine at the end of February and absolutely love the workouts and I can already feel the benefits of rowing. Paul’s encouragement and Veterans’ Rowing & Kayaking’s willingness to accept me with open arms has been motivating and moving. They are an absolutely amazing organization and group of people! I cannot wait to eventually compete while wearing the VRK colors!!! It is great to be a part of a team again!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered at this organization to help some disabled Veterans from RI race at the 2017 CRASH-B sprints in Boston MA. I had a lot of fun doing this, meeting a diverse group of veterans and volunteers. It was an honor and a privilege to be part of such a dedicated organization and I know I will be volunteering with this organization for many more hours in the future. I encourage any perspective volunteers interested in helping our nation's veterans achieve their personal goals to consider joining up with Veterans Rowing and Kayaking inc.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As the Senior Engage Life Director at Atria Senior Living in Darien, CT it is an honor and a privilege to have the Veterans' Rowing & Kayaking organization on- site working with our veterans on a weekly basis. The indoor water rowing program is a significant motivator to everyone who lives and works at our community. Having the opportunity to participate in this unique program that builds individual strength, stamina, coordination, and more importantly pride, has produced a marked positive influence on all of us at Atria Darien. I highly recommend this program to any senior living community as a way to offer a team building opportunity that provides a high sense of well being to those who participate and also to those within the community who will act as "cheerleaders" to your participants. This indoor water rowing program with the ability to advance to an outdoor program or competitive program is provided by an exceptionally professional, well trained, and well structured organization. Bravo Veterans Rowing & Kayaking for all of the positive work you do

Ray_33

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a lifegurd at the Visually Impaired Veteran's program in Pinewood Lake. Kayaking with many different veterans, hearing their stories, and giving back to those who gave so much to our country is rewarding. The staff and participants are so greatful.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This group brought rowing to our senior living community in Atria Darien for our WW II veterans. Every week, our residents trained with Paul and his volunteers indoors in order to go on the water- it was a dream come true for our veterans who ranged from 78-96 years old! For seniors who have done it all, this was a truly unique and wonderful experience!

Donor

Rating: 5

This is an outstanding service organization dedicated to providing athletic activities to US Veterans and families.

Client Served

Rating: 5

What a fabulous organization. . The Veterans love the weekly program at Atria Rye Brook. The staff is superb and extremely knowledgeable. This program is a great addition to our overall program and especially to our health and fitness program. I have participants ranging from 25-97 years old. I highly recommend them to any Senior program.

Donor

Rating: 5

This is a very well managed veteran service organization that really cares about its disabled program veterans.
I've had the pleasure of volunteering for some of their weekly programs over the past 3+ years.
We hear a lot of great feedback from the program veteran's themselves who all have benefited from the friendships formed and the physical and mental recovery that they have achieved.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is such a worthwhile cause. I kayak with the Blind and Visually Impaired Vets. I am prior service, no visual defects , and I help these vets navigate their surroundings both land and sea, and have loved every minute of it!
These are great vets who gave to their country and I can tell how much this organization means to them socially, physically and emotionally. I hope they can continue with their outings well into the next season and more!
I am not aware of any program like this . Kudos to the highly committed staff and dedicated volunteers. I am honored to be a part of this team.

1 Tom_95

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Truly a remarkable experience volunteering with this organization. I feel lucky and grateful evey time i get off the water with these fine Veterans. I am truly honored.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a US Marine volunteer for the Blind Veterans' Rowing & Kayaking, Inc. organization foundation that works with severely disabled Veterans in Connecticut.
This is one of the greatest organizations that I had the pleasure to work with. They truly have the passion to help change the lives of so many disabled Veterans.
I highly recommend them to new Veterans seeking to volunteer, new program Veterans seeking to change and improve their lives, and new potential State division chapter parties who have an interest in a new start up.
Please contact the State of Connecticut corporate office in Trumbull, CT at (203)445-3841 or email to: paul.veteransrowing@gmail.com Also check them out on Facebook at: Veterans' Rowing & Kayaking, Inc.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Very meaningful work provided to severely disabled Veterans.

2 Robert193

Donor

Rating: 5

I'm a WWII blind Veteran that joined the Blind Veterans' Rowing & Kayaking program several months ago. I have met a lot of new friends who are also visually impaired who are part of our programs.
I want to thank all the many volunteers who have assisted all our program Veterans in coaching and driving us to our weekly events and dropping us off at our homes.
The wonderful lunch that is provided for us at the end of our training session gives us an opportunity to socialize with each other and that is the icing on the cake! If you are visually handicapped please do yourself a favor and come out to one of our events.
It is a wonderful feeling to find an organization like this, which helps us realize that we can achieve things that others would think that we could never do.