I am one of the hoards of parents who descends on the city pool every day for swimming lessons during the summer. For almost a month now, my two year-old has been learning the basics of the life aquatic — kicking your legs, blowing bubbles, going under water, and, of course, jumping in. So far it appears that, much like her mother, she is not a born swimmer. But thanks to the great Parks and Recreation swim instructors, she and other kids like her are getting the chance to improve their skills and learn to love the water.
At swimming lessons the other day, another mom who was preparing to move away from Vermillion was lamenting how hard it would be to find another community that had so many free and low cost activities for kids. "In other places I've lived, there are nice things for wealthy families, and few opportunities for everyone else," she told me. "Here, it's the same for everyone. Everyone is together. You can't tell who's rich and who's poor at swimming lessons."
I was really struck by her statement. It reinforced a lot of things I believe about Vermillion and the things we value here. It also gave me the chance to tell her about the work I do with United Way of Vermillion — an organization that is one of the big reasons that swimming lessons are only $10 per child for the estimated 400 kids who take advantage of them every summer. This community of generous United Way donors has provided funding for about half of the costs not covered by registration fees for years. What an amazing accomplishment!
We hear a lot about the number of struggling families in Clay County, and it's an issue that deserves our attention. We should be proud, however, of all we do to make sure the children in Vermillion have a chance to learn and splash and play, a chance to dive at any opportunity, a chance to jump into life with both feet, no matter what their circumstances.
Learn more about the United Way of Vermillion and how you can Live United at UnitedWayofVermillion.org!