As I child I believed I was a mermaid. I loved to swim. It was traumatic for me when I failed my first swimming class. Mermaids don’t fail swimming. Little did I know then how important that experience would be for me.

Years passed. I grew up. I swam competitively 
in high school and college. I taught swimming 
lessons during summer breaks. 

Flash forward a few more years. I was now a 
mother of four children. Life was good except 
that, like most moms, I never had enough 
time or money. Then I had to quit my job to 
provide care to my dad after a stroke. It was the 
beginning of a decade of caregiving that I did for 
him, then for my eight-year-old daughter, who 
had a brain tumor, and finally for my mother, 
who had a form of Parkinson’s disease. 

Working full time was no longer an option. I 
still needed an income. I didn’t want to accept 
the pay of most part-time jobs. Plus, I needed 
more flexibility than they provided.

That’s how I ended up diving back into the 
water. I happened to observe an occupational 
therapist working with children on the autism 
spectrum in the water. She told me parents 
could not find swimming classes for their 
children’s learning needs. 

Drowning is a leading cause of accidental 
death for children on the autism spectrum. 

Using my swimming teaching experience, 
yoga certification, and knowledge of water 
massage, I created a new method of teaching. 

Swim Possible doesn’t have tests or levels. 
Teachers customize each lesson, helping 
students feel how to swim. Fewer words. Gentle 
instruction. It is a Minnesota Public Benefit 
Corporation. Every year we submit a report 
to the state about how we help students with 
autism become safer and healthier. 

Today, we serve students with autism, 
anxiety, Down syndrome and other learning 

Somewhere inside of me is still the childhood 
mermaid who believed in magic. I’ve learned 
she really didn’t fail. She just reinvented herself.