Program Details

Swim For Charlie is partnering with North Carolina elementary schools and area aquatic centers to transport 2nd graders during the school day to the pool for water safety/swimming instruction. Each session consists of a 10 minute water safety talk and introduction of an aquatic career followed by 40 minutes of pool instruction. There will be 8 sessions over two weeks.  The program will use the NC Healthful Living Standards and will be part of the Physical Education curriculum.  Schools will be added to the program prioritizing those schools with the greatest need.

Long Term Goals

This 2023-2024 academic year 8 new schools were added to the program along with 3 new host pools, Hope Valley Country Club, Durham Parks and Recreation’s Edison Johnson Aquatic Center, and Duke University’s Brodie Aquatic Center. This will allow Swim for Charlie to serve over 1200 students.

Swim for Charlie is making new partnerships with local pools to allow expansion of the program. To decrease transportation time for the students it is crucial to develop partnerships with pools near the elementary schools.

As resources allow Swim for Charlie will continue to bring together other North Carolina school districts and aquatic facilities, considering the unique assets and challenges of each new partnership. The goal is for this initiative to grow statewide and to continue for the long term over decades, having a profound effect upon youth health and lives matching Charlie’s broad vision. 

Proven Model

Swim for Charlie has duplicated the highly successful Guilford County model. The Greensboro Aquatic Center in partnership with Guilford County Schools has created an excellent Learn to Swim program. Operating since 2011 they are graduating ~2000 students a year. 

Program Manager

           Valerie Morris

Valerie is a retired Elementary school teacher with 32 years of experience in Durham Public Schools. In her career, she taught Music, Drama, Technology, Social/Emotional Learning, Kindergarten, 1st Grade and 4th Grade. She began her career as an assistant in a class for Special Needs children and has continued to enjoy working with students of all abilities and needs throughout her career.

She is a social swimmer and loves being in the water and helping others to become comfortable and safe in the water. Valerie volunteered with Swim for Charlie at Hollow Rock Swim Club this year helping her school, Forest View, to teach 2nd graders water safety and fell in love with this organization. She is now the Program Manager for Swim for Charlie and feels immense pride in the work she is doing to help the 2nd graders to learn skills that will keep them safe throughout their lives. Valerie hopes that her experience in Swim for Charlie will inspire all people; children and adults, to get in the water and learn how to be safe and enjoy swimming as much as she does!