Marshall and Johanna Kiev do not see the glass as half full. The Westport couple find it overflowing.
When their daughter Chloe broke her arm playing on the monkey bars at Coleytown Elementary School, the Kievs spearheaded a drive for a better playground.
To help Chloe — who has Williams Syndrome, a genetic disorder that includes heart problems and developmental delays — enjoy activities with friends and classmates, Marshall and Johanna worked with the Westport school system to add Special Olympics Unified Sports to its already very successful Staples High School project. Unified Sports teams include youngsters with and without disabilities. A full elementary program begins this winter.
At the same time, the Kievs approached the Westport Weston Family Y about a more traditional Special Olympics program. They loved the idea.
The result: Registration for the Y’s new swim offering begins Monday (November 30).
Youth ages 8 to 21 years old will learn or improve their swimming abilities. They’ll compete on a team. In June, they’ll join the Special Olympics Summer Games in New Haven.
Special Olympics Swimming will run year-round. Eight-week sessions begin in January, with sessions each Sunday at 3:30 p.m. Practices will be age- and ability-coordinated, coordinated by a certified swim coach and volunteer assistants.
The Kievs led a fundraising effort — a Halloween party — with many generous attendees. So there’s no cost to participants. The Y will help cover any additional funds.
The entire Kiev family is thrilled about the new program — but no one more than Chloe. “I’m so excited to swim and win medals and have my friends come and watch me,” she says.
(For more information on the Westport Y’s Special Olympics swim program, click here; call Jay Jaronko at 203-226-8983, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To read more about the Kievs and Chloe’s Williams Syndrome, click here.)