Karma for Cara Foundation awards microgrants to youths 18 years of age and younger who spearhead exceptional service projects in their communities. With her award 14 year old Tara from Zionsville, IN hosted swim clinics for children with autism, ultimately calling the project Swimming For All. Tara’s inspiration was her uncle who is mentally disabled. When her grandmother who cared for the uncle passed away, Tara quickly realized that he did not know how to swim. She is a competitive swimmer and had worked with mentally disabled children in the past. Tara ran clinics twice a month which involved pool time followed by one-on-one instruction with volunteers and students.
- How many volunteers participated in your project? How many hours did it involve? 50 volunteers and 150 hours in total.
- What did you learn from this experience? We taught autistic children water safety and how to swim. Our swim clinic had a long waiting list every time. This is a significant community need. We saw the autistic children feel much more comfortable with water after several swimming lessons.
- How will your project continue having an impact in the future? We will start a service club at the high school aiming to teach more autistic children water safety, and we are hoping to continue the swimming lessons twice a month.
- Overall, summarize how your project was completed and how you think it went. I am very happy with the project execution and outcome. Over 40 autistic children were taught the swimming lessons and over 40 high school varsity swimmers were involved in teaching. It was a truly a team effort!
- How was the Karma for Cara microgrant helpful in the completion of your project? The microgrant made these swimming clinics possible. The majority of the grant was used to pay for the usage of the pool and the lifeguard fee. In addition, we used the leftover budget to pay for food and t-shirts. We are very grateful that the microgrant enabled the swim clinic, and we will continue the swim clinic strong!