SCHENECTADY — For Union College hockey senior forward Josh Kosack, his formation of Kozi’s Kids has been near and dear to his heart.
Last year, Kosack raised over $5,240 for Christmas presents for kids in Schenectady, Albany, and Troy. This year, he has a new project.
On Monday, Kosack announced that he is initiating a fundraiser for the COCOA House, located on Stanley Street in Schenectady. Kosack is looking to raise $20,000 for the COCOA House. It recently purchased the house next door in order to turn it into a teen center for the youth in the area. One room is going to be for entrepreneurship-based activities with access to resources and mentors in the business industry. Another room will be more of a lounge area for teens to hang out.
“I’ve been working with [executive director] Will [Rivas] from the COCOA House for [about] two years,” said Kosack, the Dutchmen captain. “When I first started Kozi’s Kids, it was a matter of trying to find the right match of who I was going to work with. Me and Will just kind of connected.
“The backstory behind it [is] Will grew up in the house to the left of the COCOA House, and they’re rehabbing that entire building to turn it into a teen entrepreneurial center where kids can go after school to learn and grow and have access to things that they probably wouldn’t have access to if this center wasn’t available to them.”
Kosack discussed how the funds will help the COCOA House.
“$15,000 of that would be towards the teen center,” Kosack said, “have like a Kozi’s Kids Lounge, a place where they can go and just relax and have some computers and TV and stuff like that. Just give them something to do after school.
“The other $5,000-plus would be towards the Christmas presents.”
Despite not playing last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, Kosack’s charitable work did not go unnoticed. He was a finalist for the Hockey Humanitarian Award, which goes to college hockey’s finest citizen, a student-athlete who makes significant contributions, not just to his or her team, but also to the community-at-large through leadership in volunteerism.
Kosack won the Derek Hines Award, given to a Division I hockey player judged to best exemplify the qualities of sportsmanship, competitiveness, intelligence and work ethic.
Kosack believes that he won’t have any problem raising the $20,000.
“I have a very generous Union alumni that has agreed to match every dollar raised up to $10,000,” Kosack said. “If I raise $10,000 on my own, they’ll donate another $10,000. That’s why that $20,000 is a reachable target based on what I did last year raising $5,200. What I have learned from that side of it and the support that [Union sports information directors] Steve [Sheridan] and Dominique [Del Prete] are giving me this year, I think it’s very reasonable target to hit.”
Kosack believes in the importance of having a place like COCOA House.
“It’s huge,” Kosack said. “I was very lucky to grow up where I grew up [in Oakville, Ontario]. Those resources were so easily available to me. But not every kid has that opportunity, and especially in this area. Even though I’m not from the area, I want to give those kids that opportunity where they can fulfill their dreams and feel important and better themselves if those opportunities aren’t there.
“I know Will does everything he can for them to put themselves in the best situation to succeed. I’m just happy that I can help them in any way that I can.”
Rivas praised Kosack’s efforts.
“Josh is an amazing asset to our program and our community,” Rivas said. “He has demonstrated a commitment to the education and support of our youth. The past two years have been a pleasure working with Josh, and seeing how much he cares about the kids in the program. He has provided them with many memories and the opportunity to see and experience engagement through a sport he loves, in hockey.”
If you would like to contribute, go to https://www.flipcause.com/secure/cause_pdetails/MTM0NTU4.