Community Partners to Help Raise Funds for CARC "I Can Swim"

Now that Garrett County students are back in school, the Joan and Bill Crawford “I Can Swim!” program will soon be underway. Now in its second year, this swimming and water safety course is offered free of charge to all kindergarten-age children in Garrett County at the Garrett College Community Aquatic & Recreation Complex (CARC) on the McHenry campus.

This program, which is offered in conjunction with the Garrett County Board of Education, is funded through donations. The cost of a week-long “I Can Swim!” session is $100 per child, according Maney Gale, program coordinator. With donations from the Garrett County Board of Commissioners, area organizations, and private donations, the program kicked-off its initial year in October 2011 and served 273 kindergarten-age children in Garrett County.

The Garrett College Foundation then assumed the responsibility for acquiring and managing the funds needed to operate this program. “We know that we are providing a significant service to the community through this program and we are committed to finding ways to continue to fund it,” said Fred Learey, Executive Director of the GC Foundation.

The Foundation Board of Directors recently decided to expand the fund-raising efforts by identifying additional avenues of support. “We have decided to reach out into the community and seek partnerships with groups and organizations that are willing to help us build the financial base we need to assure the continuation of this important program. One of our Foundation Board members, Alison Rudy Sweitzer, will chair the ‘I Can Swim!’ committee. In this capacity she will spearhead the efforts to create fund-raising events within the new partnership model,” he said, adding: “Alison is an energetic, focused, young woman who will do an excellent job in this capacity.”

Sweitzer and the committee have already forged a link between “I Can Swim!” and the program’s first community partner, The Manta Ray Swim Team. Plans for a swim-a-thon fund-raiser to be held on October 20th are well underway and will be made public very soon.

More information about the Joan and Bill Crawford “I Can Swim!” Program is available at www.icanswimprogram.org. To learn more about sponsoring a swimmer, persons may call the Garrett College Foundation Office at 301-387-3131.