When congratulated on how well he is doing in his swimming and water safety class, eight year-old Jeremy answers, “I’m really trying my best”.
Jeremy started classes at Casey RACE as a nervous beginner three months ago through the YMCA Open Doors program. He was in genuine need of an activity where he could learn alongside and interact with other children, while also being able to spend quality time with his father, something his mother so desperately wanted to see.
Supported by local Cranbourne agency, Connections, Jeremy’s family was introduced to the YMCA Open Doors program after suffering financial hardship due to both parents battling significant health issues that eventually affected their ability to work and maintain consistent income.
Jeremy, who attends a local primary school, receives assistance for his schooling via a teacher’s aid, however his Aquatic Education teacher, Staci, said he was keen to learn and has shown great courage in the pool. His mother was emotional when describing the progress her son has made in the water.
“I was never given the opportunity to learn to swim and now Jeremy is doing things like swimming in deep water that I just can’t do,” she said.
After participating in his YMCA AquaSafe class over the past three months, not only can Jeremy now swim independently and put his face underwater, but his general confidence levels and sense of achievement have improved considerably.
The Open Doors program in Casey has grown significantly over the past 12 months. There are now more than 60 local community members accessing the program which is made possible by a range of fundraising events and activities conducted by a team of passionate, caring staff and volunteers.
Casey RACE Community Director, Janelle Falkingham, said it was overwhelming to see the difference that access to YMCA programs and services could make to someone’s life.
“Confidence, self-belief and motivation are life skills that most of us simply take for granted. The Open Doors program can offer disadvantaged people the chance to make so much more than just physical changes,” she said.
Jeremy’s program at Casey RACE, will soon be extended to include both parents. This opportunity will not only assist Jeremy’s mum and dad with their own rehabilitation, but also provide a chance for the family to spend some quality “play” time together.
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