A volunteer helps a swimmer do laps at Seven Oaks pool in Winnipeg during a Making Waves swim program lesson. The non-profit, volunteer-based program, which offers swimming lessons to children with disabilities, is hoping to garner the support of the Brandon community to offer the program locally. (PHOTO BY MICHAEL RODGERS)
A volunteer helps a young swimmer coming down the slide at Seven Oaks pool in Winnipeg during a Making Waves swim program lesson. (PHOTO BY MICHAEL RODGERS)
A swim program for children with disabilities is hoping to make waves in Brandon, but first requires local business and volunteer support.
Making Waves is a non-profit swim program that provides one-on-one swimming instruction to children with disabilities.
The volunteer-based program has been running successfully in Winnipeg since 2011 and has grown over the years. Initially, there were 10 swimmers and 10 volunteers, but the program has since grown to include 120 swimmers and 50 volunteers.
Swimmers may have Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, epilepsy, attention-deficit disorder or be blind or deaf.
A key aspect of the program is making it affordable for low- and middle-income families by charging $20 for 10 lessons.
"That’s one of our goals that we’ll never move away from," said Cameron Krisko, president of Making Waves in Winnipeg. "That’s one of the reasons why we have to do a lot of fundraising and we have to hope for a lot of corporate support."
Krisko said he plans to start meeting with Brandon businesses interested in partnering with the program once they’re able to find a facility with an accessible pool.
So far, they have their eye on the YMCA in Brandon, Krisko said, adding that it would make a great facility due to its overall accessibility features.
"We have a great relationship with the YMCA here in Winnipeg, so they’re going to help us," he said.
Besides support from local businesses, they will also be seeking volunteers. Krisko said he would like to find a high school or university student interested in running the program locally. Lessons would run once a week for about an hour. Those interested or seeking more information can contact Krisko directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Krisko said he’s hoping to have the program up and running in Brandon in either April or May.
"If we could get the pool on board, I think April or May would be a definite possibility," he said.
With swimmers already interested in signing up, keeping the costs down will depend on community support, Krisko said.
"If a program does get started, it does cost money to run, especially depending on how big the program gets."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 7, 2013