Sometimes it’s the little things in life that have the most impact. Take “The Sharing Wave” at the St. Charles Park District, for instance. This “pay it forward” program is a simple, easy way to help qualifying St. Charles families participate in Park District recreational and educational activities. A donation amount can be entered when purchasing a pool pass or swim program registration and can be done in person or online. The funds raised through the “Sharing Wave” initiative become part of the St. Charles Park Foundation Financial Aid Program.
Here’s how it works: say a person is signing up for a 10-visit pass to Swanson Pool at $56. Round up to an even $60 during the registration process and that additional $4 goes to the Sharing Wave program. Same if someone registers for private swim lessons at $86. Add $4 to bring the total up to $90 and it becomes that much easier for a child to become enrolled in their own swim lessons. Or a person can donate whatever amount they wish.
“The ‘Sharing Wave’ program is about providing recreational experiences for children, one donation at a time,” said Jennifer Bruggeman, Assistant Superintendent of Recreation. “It’s a rewarding and gratifying way to give back to your community.”
The “Sharing Wave” is just one of the funding programs that helps enable area children to participate in swim lessons. A collaborative effort with the Pauly D Foundation provides free swim lessons to 3- and 4-year olds and water safety education to participating CUSD 303 kindergarten classes. And a generous donation of $10,000 by the “For Scout Foundation” to the St. Charles Park Foundation’s Financial Aid Program furthers the opportunities available to individuals of all ages who need financial assistance in order to take advantage of the Park District’s numerous swim instruction and water safety programs.
Thanks to these programs, hundreds of children have benefited from free water safety education and swim lessonsaccording to Bruggeman. Swim lessons can impart basic skills such as floating and submerging and build confidence being in and around water through instruction in water safety.
Knowing how to swim and how to be safe in the water is a vital component in the prevention of drowning accidents. This is the mission of the Pauly D Foundation, an organization created by Paul and Gianna Delle Grazie, whose 4-year-old son, Paulino, died in a drowning accident in 2014. Similarly, the “For Scout Foundation” was established in 2015 by Felicity, Tony and sister Katie Cantrell to support causes important to their daughter, Scout, an ardent swimmer who died of complications from asthma in 2014 at the age of 10.
“The generosity of these two foundations plus the contributions of individual donors through the Sharing Wave program will help so many children have safe, fun and rewarding recreational experiences at the St. Charles Park District,” said Bruggeman.
To apply for the St. Charles Park Foundation Financial Aid Program, individuals may apply online or in person. The standard of eligibility follows the same guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the reduced price lunch programs. Applicants must submit a current listing of finances and attend a personal interview with a Park Foundation administrator.
For more information, call the St. Charles Park District at 630-513-6200.