BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- The Southwestern Connecticut Grizzlies football team is set to receive a $7,000 check from State Rep. John Shaban (R-135) and Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim on Wednesday, Feb. 10.
The Grizzlies are an Intercollegiate Club Football Federation team in southwestern Connecticut that pulls Connecticut community college athletes into a single football team to compete with college club teams in the northeast.
Shaban is the founder of the nonprofit Athletes in the Community and helped to secure the funding from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development. He, Ganim and SWGrizz players and coaches will meet at a brief press conference at Housatonic Community College.
The funds are to help recruit and cover team expenses.
The team was started by Coach Bernie Armstrong, a former semi-pro football teammate of Shaban’s and current AITC board member, with the purpose of keeping former high school athletes, most of whom would otherwise not go to college, involved in sports and school.
To join the Grizzlies, players must enroll in a minimum of nine credit hours per semester, participate in mandatory study halls, and have their grades and progress tracked monthly.
Athletes in the Community -- formerly known as Giants in the Community -- is a nonprofit created by Shaban when he played for and managed the semi-professional Connecticut Giants football team. A stated goal of AITC is to teach young athletes to "work as hard at life as you do at sports."
The press conference will begin at 11:30 a.m., in Room BH125 in Beacon Hall, 90 Lafayette Blvd., in Bridgeport.
Shaban represents District 135, which serves Easton, Redding and Weston.
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