NYA Sports & Fitness Center will host its fifth Open Play Day on Friday, October 18. All Newtown children in grades 7-8 are invited to visit NYA between 3 and 4:30 pm; grades 5-6 will have open access from 4:30 to 6 pm; K-4 will have the facility from 6 to 7:30; and high school students will be welcomed from 7:30 until 9 pm.
Children visiting the center on Friday will also be given a surprise gift, as NYA celebrates its fifth birthday. In addition, children and parents will have the opportunity to meet and thank Nichole Blackburn, of Big Sky Countries, for painting a 100-foot mural within NYA depicting community and recreation centric scenes.
Ms Blackburn is a California artist known for donating murals to children’s facilities, worldwide, following natural disasters. Likewise, Ms Blackburn is the preferred resident muralist for Bel-Bambini, Hollywood’s celebrity baby boutique that caters to stars like Halle Berry, Shakira, Adelle, Charlize Theron, Jessica Simpson, Selma Blair, Juliana and Bill Rancic, et al.
Following 12/14, the Newtown community turned to NYA for a central meeting point and a place where kids could be kids. The facility was open to the public and offered a media-free safe haven where kids could play and parents could gather.
NYA also acted as a drop off location for gifts of 50,000 teddy bears and as a host to the Stanley Cup along with players from the New York Giants, Major League Soccer, the Boston Bruins and the New York Knicks, all of whom turned out to support Newtown.
“I was moved by the fact the NYA gave parents a safe place to bring their children to play with friends, free from televisions and news crews,” said Ms Blackburn. “Sharing Big Sky Countries values, I knew I wanted to help the NYA in their journey of cultivating an environment where kids can be kids.”
Big Sky Countries is a non-profit organization founded in 2008 whose main focus is donating large-scale murals to children’s facilities around the world. Since 2006, murals have been painted in Thailand, Ireland, the Philippines, Bolivia, New Orleans, Costa Rica, Atlanta, and all over the Los Angeles area. Locations include elementary schools, orphanages, children’s hospitals and youth centers, and murals range from 15 feet to 100 feet
Ms Blackburn’s murals for Newtown have been created in the NYA lobby and conference room.
NYA is at 4 Primrose Street, within Fairfield Hills. Registration is requested and can be done by calling 203-426-0088 or online at NYAsportsfitness.com.