Swim Meet Feb 2019

Kids2Kids Makes A SPLASH!

By Stephanie Crowley

February 9, 2019


The Morristown High School pool filled with a roaring crowd this past Saturday–but with a twist!  The Kids2Kids Special Needs Mentoring Program bi-annual swim meet just might be the most exciting event of the season!  


After 7 years of her work with Kids2Kids, Juliana Scerbo, a senior from Mountain Lakes High School and K2K Board Member, said the best thing about the meet “is seeing all the new faces of swimmers each year and the joy on parents’ faces as they witness their child’s abilities.”


Every Saturday at the Morristown High School pool, special needs swimmers are paired with a teen mentor who teaches mechanics and helps swimmers conquer fears in the water.  The K2K swim meet consummates weeks of practice and swimmers get so excited to show all they’ve learned; sometimes surprising themselves!


Zoe Antonius, a senior at Mendham High School and K2K Board Member, reflected on the day’s events and noted how many success stories there are–from swimmers learning to dive in at the start of their race to swimmers like Brian, age 10, who swam his first full lap in competition.


The meet is held like any official swim meet:  starters, judges, heats of freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke.  Only this meet you will see mentors lined along the pool edge cheering for their swimmer, parents taping every race, and therapists monitoring behaviors and actions.  “This is result of what is possible when teens use their talent and empathy. The program could not exist without all of our teen mentors who give so much of their time to share with our special needs kids.  As a parent of a special needs child, we have to work so hard to find the right environment and appropriate programs for our kids to participate in. Kids2Kids has filled this void”, says Dave May, father of Ryan who swims on Morristown High School swim team and is a current student at the school.  “Many of our K2K special needs swimmers also participate in our other programs that run weeknights at other locations in the school district. The K2K program, lead by some amazing teens, has spun into so many more activities that provide a safe place for our special needs kids.”


Dawn Gaita, mother of 12 year old Erik, has witnessed incredible growth and new abilities in her Down’s Syndrome son who also has a few additional diagnoses.  “We have come to K2K programs for the past 7 years. There is no judgement here and my son can be active and involved in a sport at his level. There is so much peer interaction and no competition to participate–my son is accepted and not ‘cut’ because of his inability or speed.”  Both Dawn and Erik’s mentor, Morristown High senior Sean Manning, were so proud to witness Erik push past his limitations and complete his first full lap of competition. Mentors build trust with swimmers over time and then the breakthrough results in some big accomplishments! Erik’s smile proved to the crowd how special this program truly is.  


K2K offers additional classes in Yoga, Golf, Running, Art, Theater, and Tae Kwon Do.  For more information on how to become a teen mentor for K2K or to join this network of special needs families, visit our website at:  www.kidstokids.us