PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- A former Peekskill resident's mission to keep kids in California active has received a thumbs up from Bill Belichick the three-time Super Bowl winning coach of the New England Patriots.
PUCKidz (Positive Understandable Coaching For Kidz) Inc, a nonprofit run by Keith Quigley was one of seven organizations awarded a $5,000 grant from the Bill Belichick Foundation. Quigley, who was raised in Peekskill, provides various sports programs to kids in San Diego through PUCKidz.
The organization was founded in 2009 and became a non-profit in 2012. It offers sports lessons, vacation and summer camps in lacrosse and hockey as well as offering club lacrosse teams.
"I've always been involved with coaching and working with kids," Quigley said. "I knew that would be my calling. I want to keep kids busy. They spend too much time on the internet or on their X-Box. They are able to be outside everyday."
While the kids probably won't be going pro, Quigley imparts important life lessons to them.
"I try to instill in them respect, honesty, effort, hardwork, dedication and accountability," Quigley said. "These are life lessons they can pick up while playing sixth grade lacrosse."
Quigley has been able to successfully run his foundation despite suffering from psoriatic arthritis and alopecia, which causes hair loss.
"I sometimes feel like I'm 80 years old," Quigley admitted. "The alopecia was and still is a daily battle. I've gotten better at dealing with it. It can be hard to deal with mentally. Your looks change. People sometimes think I have cancer."
The kids Quigley works with don't care what he looks like, he said.
"They don't care if you have eyebrows," Quigley said. "They are concerned about building relationships and having an enthusiastic coach and leader. There's so much going on today that kids need more positivity."
Quigley said he is very thankful to be honored by Belichick, though he hopes the coach doesn't find out he's a diehard Giants fan.
"He's such a huge name in sports and it's so awesome that he's supporting these programs across the country," Quigley said. "He's in Boston and he's seeing what we're doing in San Diego."
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