Tiia and Tiara McKinney, 16-year-old twins from Rock Sound, Eleuthera wanted to spend a part of their summer giving back. The McKinney twins, who were recipients of an OEF scholarship knew there was a need for swimming classes in their community but were unsure on how to get started. They reached out to OEF and a partnership was formed.
The scuba certified sisters who are currently enrolled in high school in New Jersey, hosted a free swim clinic in Rock Sound from July 4th – 20th that catered to children between the ages of 6 and 10. Initially, the twins intended to have 5 students per session. However, because of the overwhelming interest and response from the community, the number increased to seven and eventually twelve per session.
Tiara noted “It was important for us to host this clinic because a lot of people can’t swim although they are on an island. We feel like this separates them from the environment and we wanted to instill a love for the environment in our students.”
The twins believe that at the end of the clinic, parents were well pleased with the progress of their children. They recounted the experience of one student who, at the beginning of the sessions was uneasy in the water but by the third session was completely comfortable and enjoyed practicing the skills he learnt.
The twins issued an encouragement to persons considering giving back, “don’t hold back and don’t allow fear to get in the way. We were afraid it won’t work out, but in the end, it worked out perfectly. You don’t have to start big; you can start with a small donation to charity.”
One Eleuthera Foundation sponsored this project.