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SoundWaters, Young Mariners Join Forces To Sail Forward In Stamford

Dr. Leigh Shemitz, center, president of SoundWaters, flanked by board chairmen Tom O’Connell, left, of the Young Mariners Foundation and Scott Mitchell of SoundWaters, at the SoundWaters Coastal Education Center on Cove Island.
Dr. Leigh Shemitz, center, president of SoundWaters, flanked by board chairmen Tom O’Connell, left, of the Young Mariners Foundation and Scott Mitchell of SoundWaters, at the SoundWaters Coastal Education Center on Cove Island. Photo Credit: contributed

STAMFORD, Conn. -- SoundWaters and the Young Mariners Foundation are merging under the SoundWaters brand to enhance the educational opportunities offered to students in the Stamford area, many of whom may be underserved.

"What emerges, is a highly synergistic coalition of nonprofits with a focus on the underserved community, committed to enriching the quality of the educational experience for young people and the protection of Long Island Sound," said a statement from SoundWaters. "Together will we also transform Stamford Harbor into a vibrant destination for the Waterside neighborhood and the larger community, helping to make the harbor a clean, swimmable resource."

The partnership intends to revitalize Boccuzzi Park over the next three years, converting the Young Mariners Foundation property into a robust ecological and economic zone, upgrading and expanding the Harbor Center in the Waterside section of Stamford Harbor into a flourishing educational center and sailing facility for adults and students.

In addition, the site provides docking facilities for the three-masted schooner eponymously named SoundWaters, an 80-foot replica of an 18th-century sailing ship that serves as a floating laboratory for studying the coastal waters and biodiversity of the Sound.

Scott Mitchell and Tom O’Connell of Greenwich, the board chairmen of the two nonprofits, issued the statement with Dr. Leigh Shemitz, president of SoundWaters. 

The merger becomes effective Friday, Jan. 29. O’Connell joins the executive committee of a reconstituted board of directors with three members of the Young Mariners Foundation -- Maureen Baillie, Greg Gigliotti and Fred Lorthioir. Other members of the foundation’s board and volunteers are being added to the SoundWaters administrative committees.

The coalition allows for expanding the SoundWaters Academy called STEM -- for science, technology, engineering and mathematics — to 100 students headed for grade five this year in Stamford’s public schools, ultimately to be adapted and exported to other communities in Connecticut and across the U.S. The Harbor Center meanwhile would become an anchor for the Mill River Greenway and the stewardship of Stamford Harbor.

For more information about SoundWaters, click here.

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