Watch Craig Collins walk around his yard belief the struggle he’s been dealing with for the past 6 months.
In March, the 45-year-old suffered a stroke that put him in the hospital and into rehabilitation. He’s had a few setbacks, including a seizure that has temporarily prevented him from driving but appears fairly robust despite a weakened right arm.
And he’s ready to get back to doing what he loves: Running Preschool Sports, the program he created for 3 to 6-year-old boys and girls.
Collin began Preschool Sports several years ago at the Avon Lake United Church of Christ after losing his 10-year job at the former YMCA in Avon Lake, where he was the aquatic and childcare director and ran youth sports and fitness programs.
It was a natural transition for the father of four girls, ages 6-12.
“My daughters were young,” Collins said. “There was nothing offered for children through the rec department for kids kindergarten and below.”
He found a home at the UCC, using their indoor and outdoor facilities, hosting programs in the fall, winter and spring for soccer, football and basketball. T-ball begins in the spring.
“We teach them basic sports fundamentals including physical fitness, listening and following directions and make it fun.”
Depending on the sport and season, the programs may be held indoors or out.
“We get kids from North Olmsted, Parma, Sheffield Lake, Westlake…,” Collins said.
Classes for the fall include soccer on Saturdays at 9 a.m., 10 a.m. or 11 a.m.; and football, held on Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. Basketball will begin in January.
“We usually hold one football practice at Avon Lake (Memorial) Stadium,” Collins added. “The parents, grandparents come out and take pictures.”
On the mend
It’s been a long road for Collins since his stroke, but he’s received plenty of help, especially with the programs.
He will continue to employ Avon Lake sister Casey, Lindsay and Jessie Brown. Casey is an Avon Lake high school student, Lindsay attends Lorain County Community College and Jessie is a substitute teacher at Westlake and Avon Lake.
He’s looking forward to the next sessions and already has homework planned for the kids.
“After each session, I tell them, ‘here’s your homework: Go over to whoever brought you and give them a big hug.”
He also thankful to the help he received, including from parents just after his stroke and UCC members.
“Pastor Brill and the congregation have just been incredible,” he said.
Preschool Sports Info
The classes run for one hour each, for five weeks. Collins tries to limit class size to approximately 20. Each participant receives a T-shirt and McDonald’s gift certificate at the end of the session.
Football begins Sept 11. Soccer starts Sept. 14. Cost is $50 per participant per session. There is a $5 discount per child for 2 or more registering from the same family.
For more information call Collins at 440-933-3896 or email email@example.com .