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!
Coach El was a varsity swimmer and water polo player throughout her high school career, as well as a pool lifeguard at the local tennis club. She has always had a passion for being in the water. She was Vice President of the best buddies’ program at San Clemente High school, and this made her realize her passion for working with special needs children. El is currently a student, double majoring in psychology and women gender studies and hoping to become a EMDR therapist.
El believes that “every individual should have the opportunity to experience the freedom that water can provide.” Through fun games, building relationships, and different uses of techniques, El hopes to build a bond with her special fishies and help them experience the wonders that the water can provide!
I was a lifeguard for three years while I attended college at Malone University in my home state of Ohio. During that time I also taught swim lessons to children and took part in helping some nonprofits fundraise. After attending there four years, I received a degree in Communication Arts and Spanish. I love being able to serve the community that I am a part of and I am so excited to help Special Fishies give freedom and knowledge to the people of California. I have worked in engineering, catering, and I have been a barista, a kennel tech, and a sports medicine assistant. All have been rewarding, but I am so eager to work in nonprofit and give to the community. I am happily married to my husband, David and we have a dog named Kili and a cat named Nala. David is an officer in the Marine Corps, so we lived in Ohio, Virginia and Oklahoma before making our move to California. David and I attend Heritage Christian Fellowship here in San Clemente, and we both love music, animals, and hiking.