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HEALTHY LIVING: Southington spikeball tournament aims to raise awareness for mental health

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SOUTHINGTON — A local family is hoping a spikeball tournament fundraiser at Camp Sloper next month will also help raise awareness of mental illnesses.

“We wanted to have an event that was fun and connects people,” said Krissy Dorsey, of The Connie J. Klanica Foundation. “It’s a fun game that anyone can play.”

The inaugural foundation event will be held  May 11, at 1 p.m., at Camp Sloper, 100 East St., in memory of Cheshire resident Connie Klanica.

Klanica’s family started the foundation after her death last June.

It aims to help those seeking treatment for mental illnesses, as well as providing support to caregivers.

“It’s a way to channel our grief and not let her legacy of kindness end,” said Dorsey, Klanica’s niece.

Spikeball is a combination of volleyball and foursquare, with some tennis components. A circular floor net and a small ball are used in the game.

“Pretty much any age group can do it so it seemed like a good fit for us to start with,” said Thomas Sienkowski, sports performance director at the Southington YMCA and Klanica’s nephew. 

His family got the game as a gift a few years back. Since then Sienkowski has incorporated the sport into post-training sessions at the Southington YMCA sports center.

“Who wants to come and lift weights all the time, especially at that age,” he said of the response from student athletes. “What’s even better is that it is a great way to connect people from different age groups.”

The tournament fundraiser next month will have teams of two play a minimum of three games. Points are scored when the ball bounces multiple times in the net, or when the ball misses the net and hits the ground or rim. 

Winners will receive plaques and other prizes.

Gift bags, food and drinks as well as a raffle with also be included.

“Healthy body, healthy mind,” Sienkowski said of the foundation’s goals. “Get rid of the stigma of mental illness and depression and then use it as a way to aid in research that develops more along the lines of strategies to help prevent or cure mental illness as opposed to just treating the symptoms.”

More information can be found by emailing krissy@cjk-foundation.org.

Twitter: @KusReporter


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