CAN-DO makes exercise more affordable for families in Tampa

TAMPA, Fla. – Regan O’Brian loves watching her gym students learn a new skill.

“Oh, it’s so gratifying to see them making these improvements, it’s so exciting,” O’Brian said.

About a year ago she started as a trainer for CAN-DO Sports.

The nonprofit organization makes gymnastics more affordable for families who might otherwise not be able to afford it.

O’Brian is now giving back and training the next generation.

What You Need to Know In Tampa, a nonprofit organization called CAN-DO Sports has helped thousands of children and families.

CAN-DO includes two facilities and multiple sports, including a dance program.

Gymnastics, softball, basketball, rowing and dance programs are offered.

“It means so much to me because I used to do it to share the love with it and build it into what I used to love.”

As a senior, O’Brian is in her final year of competition.

She started CAN-DO at the age of six and learned skills that went far beyond gymnastics.

“I always want to keep going, I always want to do this and I think CAN-DO and gymnastics helped me with that — you can stick with it, you can do it, no matter what, you made it,” said O’Brian.

CAN-DO Executive Director Mary Campanello has watched countless athletes like O’Brian benefit from the program, which began in 1993.

“We are really able to help scholarship holders. We never turn away a child who cannot afford it. We’ll find a way to help them. We have a lot of volunteers who help make our program a success,” Campanello said.

She knows firsthand how life-changing it can be, as Campanello was once a student herself.

“Growing up I was the eldest of five siblings so it was very difficult to find a competitive and affordable program back then. Our programming and our partnership with the City of Tampa allows us to offer competitive and quality programming for a third of the cost,” Campanello explained.

CAN-DO now includes two facilities and several sports, including a dance program.

“We’ve grown from a gym at Wayne Papy to another gym here in New Tampa and now offer other sports including gymnastics, softball, basketball and rowing with our Team Tampa family,” said Campanello.

To make sport accessible to many families across Tampa Bay, and for many athletes like O’Brian, it will become a part of their lives forever.

Through coaching, she wants to make sure everyone has the chance she had.

“I hope they always love gymnastics, no matter where their journey takes them. I hope they always find their love for it. I hope they go home with the best teammates in the world and the best experience possible. I know that’s what I’m going back with,” said O’Brian.

As the name suggests, CAN-DO gives athletes the confidence that they can achieve their dreams.


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