Three sisters from Somali—Nafisa, Annisa and Azhaar, came to our Blaisdell YMCA. They did not know anything about swimming—it is not common practice to swim in Somalia. This was the first pool they had ever been in. Azhaar, age 12, was so afraid that at the first lesson she clung to the wall or to the instructor. But after several lessons, her confidence grew. Soon she was in the shallow end, passed that test and eventually moved into deeper water. All three sisters did very well in the water safety classes. 

Their mother then enrolled the girls in the YMCA Swim Academy Program. Today all the girls are progressing through the swim level ladder.  Their mother is so happy. “My girls beg me to take them to the YMCA,” she says. “I find it hard to say no!”