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Community support makes a big difference for area nonprofits such as The Kennedy Center.

Nearly 90 area golfers swung their clubs for charity during its 26th annual Charity Golf Classic at Shorehaven Golf Club in Norwalk.

It’s one of the only tournaments in the state where junior golfers play with an adult foursome.

Over $40,000 was raised for underfunded programs provided by The Kennedy Center, which help people with disabilities lead a more productive life.

Since its inception, the tournament has contributed over $678,000 for the benefit of children and adults with disabilities.

Twenty-two junior golfers from 15 communities throughout the state were awarded scholarships based upon academic achievement, school and community leadership, and golf proficiency.

Junior golfers aged 15 through 18 played for free in this scramble-format, 18-hole classic.

In total, nearly 520 junior golfers from Connecticut have received more than $250,000 in scholarship money.

The Junior Scholarship and title sponsors of the Classic were the families of Diane Thompson and Chip Carpenter of Sandy Hook and Julie and Doug Conley of Olney, Maryland, in memory of Fred and Fran Ahlbin.

Other major sponsors recognized for their generosity included: Merit Insurance in Shelton as the Presenting Sponsor; R.D. Scinto, Inc. in Shelton and the Gavey Family of Fairfield as the Championship Sponsors; All American Waste, Donahue & Brown, LLC in Fairfield, The Hartford Insurance, Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield, and Newtown Savings Bank, all Invitational Sponsors; People’s United Bank as the Golf Ball Sponsor, and Miller Nissan in Fairfield as the Hole-In-One Sponsor.

Co-chairs of the successful golf classic were Trumbull residents Stephen Donahue and Sean Carroll. They were assisted by the golf committee and the Probus Club, who typically bring eight volunteers to staff the event.

“This Greater Bridgeport civic organization assists organizations that serve people with disabilities and has been invaluable to The Kennedy Center for more than two decades,” said Martin D. Schwartz, President and CEO of The Kennedy Center.

The Kennedy Center, founded in 1951, is an internationally accredited, non-profit, community-based rehabilitation organization that currently serves 2,000 individuals annually. The agency actively responds to the needs of the community by offering innovative, comprehensive service options to persons with disabilities and special needs, from birth to senior years.

The Kennedy Center operates 30 community experience programs, 16 group homes, an industries program composed of six businesses, supported and competitive employment and job placement services, a family support and respite service, travel training, and a variety of children’s programs.

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