Happy and Strong in the YWCA Pool

3 Jul

Maria with her mother, Faviola, and her brother.

Maria is 8 years-old, and first came to the YWCA for beginners swim lessons just a few months ago.

Maria’s mother Faviola – who is originally from Mexico – says: “I noticed at the public pool that Hispanic families tend to stay at the edge and not swim. In our culture it’s not so common to learn how to swim, but I want my children to learn for their safety, and so that they can have the same opportunities and be part of the culture here.”

Faviola chose the YW because she had heard that it’s a safe environment, with good instructors. “Maria loves coming here – she has so much fun,” says Faviola. “She has more confidence in the water – I see her improvement every week.”

Asked what she thinks about her swim lessons at the YW, Maria says simply: “I like to learn.”

How does she feel in the water? “Happy and strong.”

Faviola, who cannot swim, says that Maria’s improvement and joy in the water has inspired her to want to sign up for swimming lessons herself.


Ms. Shawn, Maria’s swim teacher, says of her:

“The spirit of this young girl is amazingly huge. The first few lessons I could feel her fear. She was afraid…but willing to try!

“I have taught swimming off and on for about 13 years.  I have never before had a student who has worked so hard, and advanced so quickly.  This young lady has the strength and tenacity of someone much older. She has amazed me on a weekly basis.  She went from being frightened to put her face in the water…to now diving in the 12 feet section of the pool and swimming the full length of the pool on her own. This young girl has courage like I have never witnessed before. 

“I have felt so much joy in watching her not only grow as a swimmer…but as a confident young girl.  There is nothing in the world like being a teacher… and then have your student look you in the eye and SMILE so big.

“It is a proven fact that with consistent swimming lessons children can decrease the chance of a water accident.  As a swim instructor it is my goal to not only teach children the basics of stroke development, but to show them how to be safe around water as well. 

“Maria is an incredible young swimmer who has touched my heart in so many ways.”

Learn more at http://www.ywcaofasheville.org/aquatics.

2 Responses to “Happy and Strong in the YWCA Pool”

  1. Susan Walton July 3, 2014 at 7:27 pm #

    What a wonderful story. Is it on your facebook page?

    Sue Walton

    • YWCA of Asheville July 7, 2014 at 4:39 pm #

      Thanks Susan! Yes, we did share it on our Facebook page. We’re translating it into Spanish as well!

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