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What makes SwimJamaica different - Keisha's story
Keisha is five years old and attends Victory Basic School in Trench Town. She loves her swimming lessons with Swim-Jamaica and proudly wears her bright green SwimJamaica T-shirt to each class. The T-shirts colour shows that she is in Level 3 of the Children's Programme. Keisha would not have the opportunity to swim if she was not sponsored by a SwimJamaica partner.
The first time Keisha started lessons, she was so excited as she climbed onto the police bus to drive to the National Stadium swimming pool. This was the first time she had been outside of her often violent community. The police have partnered with SwimJamaica to help transport children from schools in Trench Town and neighbouring Denham Town.
From excitement to fear
Arriving at the National Stadium, Keisha's excitement turned to fear as she had never seen a swimming pool before, let alone been in that much water. Her instructor understood her fear. Gaining her trust, Mark gently helped her over that fear and started teaching the water safety skills in Level 1. SwimJamaica instructors are lifeguard qualified and trained through a series of courses to ensure lessons are safe, fun and of a high quality.
With only eight children in each class the instructor knows each child, their names and personality. In small classes Keisha gets plenty of time to learn and practice new skills. You can tell she likes it by the huge smile on her face.
Code of conduct
In one of her early classes, Keisha remembers being unruly. She pushed another child in the pool. She learnt her lesson, as she had to sit out of the class for five minutes and watch the other children having fun. Swim-Jamaica's code of conduct teaches discipline to the children.
In school Keisha tries her best, but doesn't find schoolwork easy and so is not top of the class. At the pool it is different. At the end of each term there is an assessment where the skills taught are tested. Keisha passed the test for levels one and three first time. This has increased her confidence and self esteem and her school teacher has noticed a difference in class.
Each term Keisha receives a SwimJamaica T-shirt and certificate after the assessment test. She wants to pass Level 3 this term. When she does, she will be able to swim 25 metres and have learnt basic lifesaving skills.
At the pool, Keisha often looks at the posters which describe what is required to pass each of SwimJamaica's Seven (7) Levels - she wants to pass all and go on to swim for Jamaica.
Keisha is learning a life skill. The many other skills she is learning during her swimming classes (discipline, self confidence, self esteem) will help her in other areas of life. Who knows, she may one day earn a swimming scholarship to a university!
Epilogue - there are many other stories like Keisha's. Partnering with SwimJamaica will change the lives of those we touch. This is a positive investment in the life of a child, building a future for them, their community and a better Jamaica.
- Information courtesy of SwimJamaica