Pay It Forward: Chandler swim instructor to scholarship family

August 05, 2011 | Infant Swimming Resource
Tags: News

CHANDLER, AZ (KPHO) - http://www.kpho.com/story/15214525/pay-it-forward-gilbert-swim-instructor-to-scholarship-family

When 3-year-old Heather Santarone first started swim lessons, she panicked in the pool.

Now, she can roll over on her back to catch her breath, then keep on swimming.

"At least I have the security of knowing if she gets out of my sight and into a body of water she can handle herself," said Julie Santarone, Heather's mother.

Heather takes private lessons with Therace Pollard, an Infant Swimming Resource certified instructor in Chandler.

"I still get the chills every time I see a child swim to the side for the first time or a baby hold their breath and go into their float," said Pollard.

Pollard said children as young as 6 months can learn the floating fundamentals.

That's why she gets so emotional every time a child drowns.   

"When I hear the news stories, I have to turn it, I do," she said.

Julie Santarone knows that the lessons have made a huge difference, but she also knows that they're too expensive for some families to afford.

So she nominated Pollard for CBS 5's "Pay It Forward" segment, so that the $500 could be used to scholarship a family who can't afford the lessons.

We surprised Pollard at her home in Chandler.

"This is such an honor," said Pollard, who is married to a firefighter who has been on many drowning calls.

Now, the thought of one less drowning, is reason for everyone to breathe a little easier.

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