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Chapel Hill nonprofit teaches foster children to swim from freemexy's blog

Chaires founded the Carolina Swims Foundation. It's a nonprofit in Chapel Hill that is dedicated to teaching foster children how to swim."It is giving them the gift of swim. It's giving them a life skill, a survival life skill that will protect them the rest of their life," Chaires said.Children swimming in Shanghai

Virginia Pate has two foster kids. She and her partner decided to become foster parents when they thought about all of the children who needed homes. Her children are in the program and enjoying it.Both of my foster kids have learned to swim and can now keep themselves up in the water, which neither of them could do about a year and a half ago," Pate said.

The swimming lessons are free for the families. Many of the parents watch together and share a common bond. The lessons are provided by volunteers, some from UNC's Swimming and Diving Program.I think when you see these kids accomplish something in the water and overcome their fear, they become unstoppable," said Christy Garth, UNC swimming and diving assistant coach.

Kids who may have been scared of pools and lakes and the ocean are now excited to jump in. "Now they are begging to come, asking when the next swim lesson is. As a parent, it is nice to seem them become more confident when they are in the pool and not worry so much," said Pate.

The Carolina Swims Foundation has monthly lessons for foster children. The pool time is donated by the Town of Chapel Hill.

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