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Two organizations team up to help children

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Hartford’s Camp Courant, the oldest and largest free summer program in the nation, has partnered with The H.O.P.E. Foundation (Helping Other People Excel) to help young people lead more productive and positive lives. The H.O.P.E. Foundation will introduce The REAL Man Character Development Program to nearly 1,100 children during the 2014 summer program. Each year Camp Courant invites youngsters ages five to 12 to attend for free and participate in a variety of recreational, cultural and educational programs at a nearby campsite in Farmington, Connecticut.

The 120 year old Hartford-based non-profit will implement this H.O.P.E. Foundation pilot program to help teach the next group of campers character development lessons. Kathy and Lou DiCocco of Farmington lost their son Frank DiCocco, a coach, author and founder of The H.O.P.E. Foundation, in April 2013 at the age of 29. Both Mr. and Mrs. DiCocco are devoted to perpetuating their son’s mission to help to educate and empower youth through character development initiatives, scholarships and endowments.

Teaching life lessons

The young coach created The REAL Man Character Development Program (Respect all people, Especially women, Always do the right thing, and Live a life that matters) that features 20 lesson plans to teach youth how to understand right from wrong and make the right choice when faced with a decision, which will now be taught at Camp Courant.

"We are so excited about this partnership and teaching the youngsters who attend more about good character and making the right decisions, which can only help them to be more successful in life," says Mrs. DiCocco. Last year The H.O.P.E Foundation sponsored young campers and they will do so again in 2014. In addition, they will be donating all books and materials to this year’s summer camp program that starts in June. Their Director of Development Danielle Frissora will work closely with the Hartford’s Camp Courant team to successfully implement the program.

“Together we hope to change our community and instill a fundamental understanding and direction for all of the children in our program as they enter the next step of their personal journey,” says Hartford’s Camp Courant Director and CEO Josh Reese.

A coach who lived his dream

Frank DiCocco was a coach who lived his dream by providing young people with a 'playbook' on how to lead a positive life by treating others with respect and living as an example of exemplary character each day. He authored Playbook for Manhood: A Game Plan For Being A Real Man, which he distributed nationally, to be used in classrooms, athletic departments, homes and camps as a framework to instruct young people.

Now Kathy and Lou DiCocco and The H.O.P.E. Foundation team continue with his inspirational work. For more information on Frank DiCocco and his charity visit The H.O.P.E. Foundation website. To learn more about Hartford’s Camp Courant’s program and history, visit the camp's website.

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