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2018 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

33 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2 Angela S.3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Wow an excellent contribution to our fitness program. A wonderful low impact exercise that's fun and easy to do. Our residents love this program thank you U.S. Veterans' Rowing & Kayaking Foundation.

1 HowardRusk

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm a blind veteran with stage 4 throat cancer in remission.
I no longer reside at Atria Senior Living in Rye Brook because my daughter wanted me closer to her so she took me in.
While I was a resident at Rye Brook, I was a very active participant and trained under the guidance of several great coaches from U.S. Veterans' Rowing & Kayaking Foundation.
I'm a very competitive person by nature and worked hard to compete in special events hosted by USVRK, which included TeleRowing against Atria Darien which is another senior community in Darien, Connecticut. It was fun and challenging to race against another Atria team of veteran rowers from another state, while watching each other on our big screen TV's and interacting with each other.
I plan to continue rowing despite my recent medical setback and relocation. I'm most grateful to all my previous coach's, especially Paul who kept encouraging me every step of the way! Bravo to the work that U.S. Veterans' Rowing & Kayaking Foundation is doing for all injured and disabled Veterans nationally!! I absolutely love this charity and hope that others reading this post will see the value of their work...and their mission to keeping health care cost down by improving the health of all veteran participants.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm a senior living at Atria Rye Brook and I asked my caregiver to help write my review since I have Parkinson's.
Our veterans club rowing program began nearly 3-years ago when the founder of U.S. Veterans' Rowing & Kayaking was invited to make our location the 2nd location to start one up.
Since then, we've had dozens of participant's from our community try rowing as away to work out with low impact; low cardio exercise.
I'm please to report that I won 1st place in the female adaptive 1K category at the 2017 Connecticut Indoor Rowing Championship.
It is a real pleasure to have taken part in the outdoor rowing summer sessions on Glen Island when we do crew.
Thank you U.S. Veterans' Rowing & Kayaking Foundation for improving the quality of life for so many veterans, including mine! God bless this wonderful charity which exceeds the 5-Star rating that I'm giving it!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband and I live at Atria Rye Brook Senior Living Community.
We both have medical issues and decided to take up the recreational rehabilitation therapeutic rowing program with U.S. Veterans, Rowing & Kayaking Foundation which sends coaching staff to our facility weekly.
I was overjoyed at the amazing improvement I made during the first 4-weeks. The first week I could barely row 200 meters but by the 4th week, I was up to 1000 meters!
Although it takes me longer than others on our Veterans' Rowing Team because of my foot surgeries and left shoulder injury, I am determined to finish each week's training goal.
I participated with a dozen of more of our group last summer on Glen Island as we rowed on the water.
This January we had our annual indoor race at the Connecticut Indoor Rowing Championships and were honored by a Color Guard presentation by Port 5 Naval Association.
Thank you to this amazing charity for being part of my recovery and improving my life!
I hope everyone recognizes the importance of the work they do for injured veterans. Please help support them.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I started doing this program with U.S. Veterans' Rowing & Kayaking to stay active and in shape and to keep healthy. I don't like hospitals so I do preventive maintenance.
I'm a very competitive person so I jumped at the chance to take part in my first race this January in Easton at the CT. Indoor Rowing Championships.
We all had a great time and we all won a ribbon for our age and disability category.
I look forward to the spring outdoor rowing sessions!
Please help support this nonprofit for the wonderful work they do with disabled veterans around the country. I'm grateful to have worked with them.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Art Reid and I'm a member of U.S. Veterans' Rowing & Kayaking Foundation based in Trumbull, CT.
I live alone at Atria Senior Living Community in Rye Brook, NY.
As a retired firefighter and disabled veteran with blindness, I can't begin to tell you what a blessing this organization has been for someone who lives in isolation in my room.
I developed breathing problems over the years when I worked as a firefighter and the rowing sessions on our indoor WaterRower training equipment has helped keep my lungs open. My coordination and sense of balance has also improved gradually, and this is very important because I walk with a cane.
I would recommend this fantastic charity because of their commitment to serve all veterans regardless of age or disability.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been a member of a rowing team in Rye Brook with U.S. Veteran' Rowing & Kayaking Foundation for the past 15-months.
What a joy and pleasure I get when our two coaching instructors show up each week to train us with personalized instruction.
This is the only workout I do because it's fun and because I'm around my friends.
Since taking up rowing my balance has improved quite a bit and I don't need my walker. I now just use my cane.
My adult kids are very proud of me, especially when they heard that I rowed crew with other seniors last summer on Glen Island.
This year I also competed in my first indoor race at the Connecticut Indoor Rowing Championships. We all did very well. It is my privilege and honor to recommend this great charity that does so much wonderful work for veterans and their immediate family. Go U.S. Veterans' Rowing & Kayaking!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Mark Nicholls and I was introduced U.S. Veterans' Rowing and Kayaking Foundation by a friend from my church.
I began my training session at the organization's Orange, Connecticut location and was given individual one on one coaching instruction during a "Learn to Row" program.
I had a recent stroke and have physical limitations but the coaching staff was very encouraging and supportive of my eagerness to want to learn and be part of the team. They were patient and thoughtful and took a personal interest in making sure I enjoyed my training session.
They invited me to their big annual event in Easton, CT known as the Connecticut Indoor Rowing Championships which I accepted. As a navy veteran, I was overwhelmed with how well we were treated by the civilian athletes of which there were over 450.
Recently I heard that USRowing Association which controls all rowing activities in the USA will be declining our veterans from participating in future indoor and outdoor races unless we sign specific insurance waivers with our personal information on it.
As a honorably discharged veteran, I will only agree to join and be a member of U.S. Veterans' Rowing & Kayaking Foundation and will never, ever join a civilian rowing organization like USRowing. I really recent USRowing's control and intimidation by not allowing disabled veterans like myself from entering these indoor and outdoor races through my membership with USVRK Foundation. I whole heartedly endorse and support U.S. Veterans' Rowing & Kayaking Foundation and I urge anyone interested in donating to a worthy charity to please consider to donate to them. They provide passionate service and care to their veteran membership.

1 Annamiklos

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm a blind senior at Rye Brook Atria Living Community.
Since beginning our recreational therapy indoor and outdoor rowing program with U.S. Veterans' Rowing & Kayaking Foundation over 2-years ago, I've had significant improvement in my overall health.
My legs were swollen and I had trouble sleeping. My blood pressure was also high. Since working with my individual coaching staff, I'm pleased to report that the swelling of my legs are down due to improved circulation. I sleep restfully and my blood pressure has improved according to my doctor.
As a blind aging senior in her 80's my biggest immediate benefit was my sense of regained balance which helps me to stay on my feet and not risk falling. How great is that?!
I'm most grateful for this wonderful charity which works with all veterans, including old blind ones.
As a side note, I have attended and competed in my second Connecticut Indoor Rowing Championships in Easton, CT and rowed with other blind and vision impaired veterans which to me is amazing....as it was for all the civilian spectators who came out to support us all!
One of our residents named Ruth Shiller actually set a world and American record for the 1000 meter race at age 98!
Please help support this great non-profit any way that you can because they really care about improving the quality of the lives of each injured and disabled veteran one at a time.

1 RuthShiller

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a senior resident living at Atria Rye Brook, NY and I'm writing this review to show my support from U.S. Veterans' Rowing & Kayaking Foundation and their work with injured and disabled veterans.
I recently had the opportunity to compete in one of their indoor rowing races at the Connecticut Indoor Rowing Championships in Easton. We had about 12-participents, many who were blind or had other medial conditions like PTSD come via volunteer drivers and other support staff to race. Most took 1st place in their age and disability divisions.
I was lucky enough to find out that I actually set a world record and American record for the 1000 meter sprint for my age division 90-99.
How exciting to find out that at age 98 I can still do something to inspire others to take up the sport of rowing with this great charitable foundation dedicated to serving all our veterans despite age or disability.
If you're considering donating to a worth veteran service organization, look no further....here it is! Truly helping all our service men and women in a meaningful way. Please give to them so that they can help more veterans with rehabilitating their lives. Thank you and God bless this wonderful organization.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am so thankful for being a part of this wonderful foundation.
From what I have experienced so far, the organization is doing wonders
for the betterment, wellness and yes, for improving the quality of our Veterans lives.
On a personal note, I am so glad I found a new challenge to try to excel in. I love the overall physical benefits the training gives me and the target of conquering the various records in my division. This has also helped my mental well being immensely.
At my first indoor rowing competitive meet on Jan. 28th, 2018, I've come to realize I have a lot to improve on.While watching the video of my heat, my friends and I were laughing at my overall form and pace. It was very difficult to hang on during the ending meters of the race. I am sure I will improve as I look forward to the weekly training events. The U.S. Rowing & Kayaking Foundation is 100% dedicated to make the lives of our Veterans brighter & more meaningful

Jerry A

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!"

5

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.

1

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.

2

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.

1

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.

1

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.