I am asked all the time what made me so passionate about water safety and working with all who have special needs.
Jodi Powell~ President and Founder
So many experiences in my life have brought me to this point in my life and career. The first was having a father who suffered most my young life from Multiple Sclerosis. If I had the knowledge and capability back then, I could have helped his quality of life. Now I carry him with me every time I hold a new Fishie who can’t walk anywhere but in the water,where they move and feel like nowhere else in their world. My father was the one who instilled my love for swimming from before I could walk. When I moved to AZ in 2001 I was devastated at the rate of drownings and decided to take the love he gave me, my skills as a lifeguard and instructor, my degree in psych and start my own swim school. One life lost is one life too many when it is preventable!
For the next 15 years I found myself with the most amazing Fishies being brought into my life to teach me. I continued to learn and grow with each Special Fishie I taught. Then after becoming a mother I tapped into that maternal intuitive type of teaching and my world grew with my Special Fishies and all Fishies. There is no one right way to learn. But to learn in a fun loving way will create a passion for water that is essential for any Southern California child.
In 2013 I met a little 2 year old boy with SMA that touched my heart to the core. He brought back those memories of my father. I knew the direction I was going was about to change. I have a desire to give all children the opportunity to feel free and strong, to swim, to float, and to laugh. I now have added teaching you how to work with your own special fishie. Even in the bathtub, with the correct tools and knowledge you can turn bath time into 30 minutes of freedom.
Now my own wonderfully spirited toddlers have taught me patience, and that not all Special Needs look the same by any means. High needs, spirited, ADD, ADHD, Autism-, Cerebral Palsy, SMA, Downs Syndrome and the list goes on…As one prominent physician whom I will call Dr. P said “I can not think of any disease in which swimming would not be beneficial”.
Water is healing to all!
Growing up in San Clemente, Ali was a natural born water baby. Ali was on the swim, water polo, and surf teams in high school. Her love of the ocean drew her to college at California State Monterey Bay. Each summer she would come home and work at R.H. Dana Exceptional Needs Facility. This is where she found that kids with special needs held a very special place in her heart. She finished college with a minor in Marine Science and a major in Integrated Studies with an emphasis on Atypical Development. Ali firmly believes in bridging the gap of available activities for kids with special needs. Ali went on to gain her Montessori Early Childhood Credential and taught for 7 years. “Water and laughter are the best medicine!”
Deborah Parker~ Vice President San Diego County and Canine Assisted Programs
My name is Deb, and I help Special Abilities Children find freedom, who they are, and ultimately move into their purpose-through water.I was introduced to water therapy with Life Rolls On; They Will Surf Again, 5 years ago. It changed my life. I had a fear of the waves, and was terrified to have someone’s life in my hands when I knew how powerful the waves could be. But somehow, the waves became invisible when our adaptive surfer was on the board, and it opened my eyes to the person I could be, and who I could be for them. I came back a different person. I began to realize my purpose-saving lives and giving freedom. Five years later, many Life Rolls On; They Will Surf Again Events, 4 years with Surf Dog Ricochet, 2 years with Best Day Foundation, multiple events with CAF, SDAA, and SMAA: working alongside adaptive athletes, helping them experience the day to its fullest; and now I am a Water Therapy Swim Instructor and Emotional Support Assistant for Youngsters with Special Abilities; helping them feel secure, heard, and free through swimming lessons and canine assisted activities. I give private lessons, working with Special Fishies and Ricochet the Surfice Dog and Cori the Canine Water Assistant for water freedom and safety. Saving lives is my focus while giving freedom and purpose.