Meet Melanie, Ashley & Leonel


Izaira never learned to swim when she was a child and grew up terrified to be in or around the water. That fear is still with her as an adult, so when she had children of her own, she knew how important it was to get them involved in swim lessons so they wouldn’t also be afraid of the water. But more importantly, she didn’t want them to become a statistic. Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death among children 14 and under, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So, Izaira reached out to the membership director at the YMCA, and with financial assistance, she and her husband Enaur were able to enroll their three children in swim lessons at the Y.

Ashley is the oldest of the three siblings, at 11 years old, she has been in swim lessons for almost two years. Izaira says that in addition to the life- saving skill of swimming, the physical activity has been beneficial for her daughter. When Ashley first began swim lessons, she had never been in the water before and started in the polliwog class, a beginner level class.  Now she has progressed to the level of developmental swim league and is thrilled that she will begin swimming with a team soon. Ashley loves the water so much that she says one day she wants to be a lifeguard.

Melanie is 10 years old and followed in her sister’s footsteps. At first, Melanie was very scared of the water and was afraid to swim alone. It didn’t take her long to become a great swimmer, and now she is ready for developmental swim league with her sister. Melanie loves the water so much that she often comes to the Y to swim outside of her regular swim lesson time and says that it’s “really important for people to know how to swim to the shore if they are in a lake or in a pool, because it could save their life.”

Little Leonel is only 7, but he is a powerhouse in the water. His instructors say that he has really come out of his shell, and the little boy who would barely talk to them when he began coming to the Y is now “very talkative” and always has a smile on his face- especially when he’s in the water. They’ll tell you that it’s fun to watch Leonel improve so quickly, as he is very determined to keep up with his sisters.

Izaira and her husband Enuar continue to see improvement in their children’s health, their self- esteem and their skill level and are thankful to the generous donors who make it possible for them to participate in swim lessons at the Y.