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Our Story

Hi, my name is Audrey Dobson, and I am the founder of the Swim for Change Project.

The idea for Swim for Change started in April of 2021 in church. God Spoke to me through the pastor as he said “If you’re not doing everything in your power to make a difference in this world, then you aren’t doing enough” I sat with that and decided that I was capable of doing so much more than I was. Over the next few weeks, the idea of Swim for Change was born. God gave me this mission, and he was with me every step of the planning process. By God’s grace Eibi Duarte was brought into my life. Eibi is an incredible woman from Guatemala. She met with me and we began brainstorming on how we could make this dream a reality. She contacted her family in Guatemala, while I raised funds. Together, with the help of her cousin Paola Villatoro, and many donors and volunteers, we were able to raise over $14,000 and on September 25, 2021 we were off to La Antigua Guatemala!

In Guatemala we were able to work with a group of girls who were in a group home. All of the children we worked with were victims of sexual abuse. We were able to teach 50 girls ages 3-17 how to swim. We fed the children and volunteers for a week, and we learned their stories. These children have not had privileged lives. I soon realized we were doing so much more than just teaching some kids how to hold their breath and kick, we were teaching these children that they can trust others for the first time in their lives. We gave them confidence in themselves, and showed them that they have value and they are cared about. To say these children made an impact on me is an understatement.

​The following year with the help of countless funders, volunteers, and planning we were able to return to Guatemala and successfully taught 104 underprivileged and abused children in December of 2022. This year we integrated the women’s home that we had worked with in 2021, with a school of underprivileged children. We wanted to give the kids not only a sense of community, but also our volunteers wanted to take the stigma and pity that can be felt for the children of abuse out of the equation and integrate the children so at least for the week everyone could experience the pureness of childhood and the joy of learning to swim.

In October of 2023 a team of volunteers ventured to La Fortuna Costa Rica. We were able to teach 50 underprivileged and orphaned children in the span of a week. After our first day of lessons, the members of the community were so ecstatic over the progress their children were making, that they ran through the streets of their town, pounding on their neighbor’s doors, telling them that we were teaching their children to swim. The next day our classes exponentially grew.

The Swim for Change mission is constantly seeking to expand. Learning to swim, and being connected to water is one of the most powerful things a person can do. I want to empower individuals who have not been served before. I hope to show them that they are capable of healing, trusting, and growing from their circumstance, but also they deserve to know the joys that water brings, and that they are worthy of being served.

If you would like to be involved in the Swim for Change Project there are many ways to support!

Whether it’s through volunteering, being a donor, or sharing our story, you are making a huge impact on these children’s lives. Thank you for reading about my mission.

-Audrey Dobson

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