Program helps children in Greater Hartford create a legacy – NBC Connecticut

In North Hartford, there is a very special non-profit organization that has helped hundreds of children prepare for an incredible future.

Its leaders say they just want to give kids the tools and opportunities to get out there and succeed. In this week’s Connecticut in Color, we feature Legacy Foundation of Hartford.

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

Over the past decade, he has worked to ensure that children in the Greater Hartford area have the opportunity to create their own great legacy.

“What we’re doing is creating a legacy. We’re trying to engage and leave an imprint on these young people,” Jones said.

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

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

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

Beyond the classroom, Legacy children 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 students take ski and snowboard trips, they’ve attended polo games, canoe days, and more.

And because the emphasis is on further studies, there is also university coaching. Jones says they want every student to pursue the higher education that is right for them.

ReAnna Barclay is that Legacy Foundation dream come true.

The 18-year-old joined Legacy after moving from Jamaica to Connecticut – without her parents – during her freshman year of high school. She was connected to Legacy and is now a student at Tufts University, on a full scholarship to study mechanical engineering with plans 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 with resources and opportunities that I probably wouldn’t have found on my own,” Barclay said.

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

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

There is a nominal fee of $25 for children to be part of the Legacy program. Jones says he wants every 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 costs so they don’t have to shell out.

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

To learn more about how your child can participate in Legacy Foundation of Hartford programs, click here.

Ryan H. Bowman