August 6—MIFFLINBURG — Kiwanis members in Mifflinburg are doing what they can to help children in their communities learn a necessary skill like swimming.
Mifflinburg Kiwanis recently offered full refunds for more than 60 children who took swimming lessons at the Mifflinburg Community Pool. If kids attended eight out of 10 class days of the levels one and two swimming lessons, the families were refunded the $75 fee they paid when registering.
Annie Smith, of Mifflinburg Kiwanis, said children living in an area with lots of bodies of water should have the situational awareness needed to swim.
“This is such an essential life skill for children,” she said.
Smith said many parents said they would not have been able to afford the lessons without the help from Kiwanis.
“That’s probably the best aspect is we taught this skill to kids who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford it,” Annie Smith added.
Desiree Smith brought her 6-year-old granddaughter, Giuliania Smith, for classes.
“She couldn’t get underwater until these lessons,” said Smith. “They did such a wonderful job with these children.”
Desiree Smith said they were very grateful for the Mifflinburg Kiwanis chapter.
“Mifflinburg Kiwanis was instrumental in creating the pool,” said Sally Rothermel, secretary, Mifflinburg Kiwanis. “We have always supported swimming lessons and the needs of the pool.
“We have a passion to help children swim,” she said.
Rothermel said the lessons taught children to be confident in the water and how to save themselves if they fell in the pool.
In addition to paying for swimming lessons, Mifflinburg Kiwanis also paid $365 each for six lifeguards to receive Water Safety Instructor certification.
“Kiwanis exists to support children of local communities,” said Annie Smith.
In Pennsylvania, Kiwanis International says more than 302,653 total Early Learning Guides were distributed to families as of Dec. 15, 2020; 17 scholarships given to undergraduate and graduate students including Key Club and Circle K; and over $24,000 in grants and programs.
Annie Smith organized and ran the local chapter’s blueberry sale drive. According to her, the chapter sold 1,200 10-pound boxes to raise money for the swimming initiative.
“It is something we have tried to do for over 20 years, but didn’t for the last two years,” she said.
Rothermel said the club received several positive comments about the swimming lessons.
“They have a privilege they didn’t have, so it makes it worthwhile,” said Rothermel.