This year I founded and volunteer at my program called Swimming with Pride. As a junior in high school, I was selected as an ANNpower fellow, and had the opportunity to attend a leadership forum in Washington, D.C., as well as apply for a grant to fund a community service initiative. I was awarded my first grant in the fall of my senior year, with which I founded Swimming Safety School, a water safety awareness and swimming program located in Leonardtown, MD. Through my program, I taught 30 socioeconomically disadvantaged children how to swim and 70 community members how to be safe around water.
I was awarded a second grant to bring the program to Chester this past fall. Through the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, I networked with the students from Widener, the Rocky Run YMCA in Media, and The Boys’ and Girls’ club of Chester. We had twenty students participate in the first session of Swimming with Pride. However, far more expressed interest, but we could only have five students per instructor due to the YMCA’s safety regulations. All participants will be returning for the second session of Swimming with Pride, starting at the end of March.
It is my goal to teach all participants how to swim, have several become lifeguards to promote water safety in their own community, or eventually even help run Swimming with Pride. I am working with the YMCA to hold fundraisers for Swimming with Pride, and with Swarthmore and Wiedner students as volunteers for the program. It is my goal to encourage youth to become role models for their peers by empowering them through the strength swimming provides. I am so thankful for the opportunities ANN, Inc and the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility have provided me and in turn, the children I have the benefit of working with!