On June 23, Connecticut kids with special needs set off on a fishing expedition organized by three students from Stamford’s Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy (BCHA), working with the C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation, an organization that enriches the lives of children with special needs, supports their families and strengthens communities through the sport of fishing.
Led by Ben Marcus, an avid fisherman and a junior at the BCHA Upper School, where he founded the school’s Environmental Club, kids and volunteers spent the morning fishing on the Saugatuck River in Westport, then returned for a BBQ lunch and an awards ceremony.
It was the first time C.A.S.T. for Kids held an event in Connecticut. The organization hosts annual fishing and boating events across America to provide children with special needs a quality outdoor recreational experience. Participants are supplied with a fishing rod and reel, t-shirt, hat and tackle box. They are partnered with an experienced volunteer angler and escorted onto a boat, where, with the supervision of a parent or guardian, they are shown proper fishing techniques and receive natural resources education.
Ben, along with other members of the Environmental Club, BCHA sophomore Josh Marcus and BCHA junior Gavin Rakitt, helped raise the funds and organize the event.
Their efforts paid off.
“I would have never expected fishing to be the thing that changed my son’s life, but your event did absolutely that!” one parent told Ben at the end of the day.
By Judie Jacobson