The summer of 2014 was a successful one for the partnership between Sustainable Sports Foundation and Mill Valley Recreation.

Together, the powerful duo was able to offer a total of 102 scholarship opportunities to the tune of $13,316 at the Mill Valley Aquatic & Fitness Center.

For summer, in an effort to meet the needs of more community members, the scholarship was made available to any family that qualified as needing assistance and who committed to bringing their children to the lessons at the Center. Founder of Sustainable Sports Foundation, Mark Liebert, and Aquatics & Fitness Supervisor  Kat Reisinger, strongly believed that they needed to encourage parent participation in the Summer’s extensive offering of lessons.

“Learning to swim is not just an activity that can be completed with 1 session of 8 30 minute lessons. To become safe in the water and confident in your environment, you need to put the time in to practice.” Reisinger said. “I also felt strongly that parents needed to show a commitment to their children and their learning to swim and it paid off. Not only did we have many people apply for the scholarship but it was wonderful to watch the parents witness their children’s growth and joy in the water.”

Thanks to this generous donation many of the swimmers were able to participate in multiple sessions of summer lessons for a progressive learning experience. This opportunity has had an effect the lives of these swimmers both in and out of the water. Not only are the participants being taught swimming skills that promote safety, health, and wellness, but has also helped improve their focus, drive, and overall well being.

“These swimming lessons have been a true blessing,”  says Karima Seghier. Karima is the mother of three of the Sustainable Sports lesson participants. Her two twins, Farida and Haythem, have progressed greatly through the program and now love the water! Karima’s eldest son Krimo has also had an amazingly positive experience. Krimo is a 14 year old boy who has Autism and is not able to participate in many regular childhood activities. Swimming is the exception and the scholarship opportunities of the Sustainable Sports Program have made that exception become a reality. Krimo has learned to work with several different instructors who have bonded with him throughout the summer.  “It wasn’t a week of swim lessons unless we could hear Krimo’s excited screams in the water” says Aquatics Coordinator Steven Cortes. “The family has been a pleasure to work with and we are pleased to work with Sustainable Sports to provide funding that has a positive impact on families like the Salem’s.”

Not only has Krimo’s comfort in the water improved but so have his abilities to focus in the classroom. “Krimo is showing an improvement in many different aspects of his life outside of the water,” says Karima.

All participants in the Sustainable Sports Scholarship had the opportunity to volunteer at two of the Sustainable Sports Events this summer, The Marin County Half Marathon, and the Marin Swim. The children loved the opportunity to volunteer with athletes participating in the events and were able to see what can be achieved if they continue in the swim lessons. For many of their families it was the first time they had ever been to a racing event.