Safety Around Water 2018: Tanisha’s Story

I couldn’t stand water. Water is not something that I was very interested
in. During the summers, we went to great summer
camps, and one summer when I went to summer camp, I remember trying to go by the older
kids and not knowing the water goes deep as you move. I kept on walking and all of a sudden, I fell
into the deeper part of the water. When I woke up, I had to be rescued. And so from that point, I really didn’t want
water. I didn’t want to put my head under water. And so I just felt water and swimming was
one of those boxes, just put it in, I just, I’m not going to learn how to do that. I have two children, Miah and Jordan. They weren’t exposed to water. Because I didn’t realize that because I didn’t
like water, I never brought them near water. I’m tall enough now that I’ll be okay in four
feet of water, but they won’t. My daughter joined Girl Scouts. Some one of the parents in Girl Scouts said
the Y has grants and they’ll help Girl Scouts learn how to swim. I said, “Okay, I have to find where this Y
is.” And so that’s what made me reach out. Safety Around Water is an amazing program
to give any child or person a very basic and safety-minded lesson about water. Because water is fantastic, but it is also
very dangerous. I feel like being here in Plaquemines Parish
and in Belle Chase area, there may be some pools, but there area lot of bayous and canals
and things, and it’s not safe for a child to be around in this community and not have
the basic survival and swim skills. So here at the Y, we’re able to teach them
those basic skills in case any kind of accidents would happen. They’re like, “We’re really going to do this?” I said, “Yes, ya’ll have to learn how to swim. Ya’ll have to learn this skill.” Then “Mama, do you know how to swim?” “Don’t worry about what Mama knows, honey. You’ll just have to learn. You have to learn how to swim. You have to do this.” So when they took their swim lessons, they
tried really hard. Jordan was progressing so well in his swim
lessons. He was in Stage 2. In the middle of his lesson, he actually went
to the Stage 3 swim instructor and asked her, “Can I join you? I want to come to your class.” I just saw his confidence. I mean, I saw that he just felt so at ease
with the water. I didn’t know that he even would enjoy water
like that. My children, enjoying water? That’s insane. We get to know the parents, you know, as we
give the progress reports and updates. So I got to know Tanisha over the time, and
you know, she was like, “I don’t know how to swim, but my babies are going to learn.” And so I said, “Okay, how about when they
pass the swim test, you’re going to learn how to swim.” And she’s like, “Okay”. Like that ain’t never going to happen. I really was thinking I’m going to humor Julie
because there’s no way you can teach someone in their 30s how to swim. So I got in the pool with my noodle. I don’t know if it was less than three or
four and then she would say, “Okay, well you just come catch this noodle from me.” I mean, Julie kept moving further and further
away from me with the noodle and I felt myself going to her. I don’t know how all those pieces came together,
but it did. And the fact that I was swimming and my arms
and my legs was on top of this water, it was a feeling like no other. A feeling I never thought I would ever experience. Ever.

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