It’s been a busy and productive July at V3 Sport! Every month, every week, and every day, V3 is elevating our community through wellness, fitness and education. V3 partnered with NBC Next Sports, Speedo, USA Swimming, Swim UNITED, Pool and Hot Tub Alliance to host a Family Swim and Wellness Fair on July 15th and we gave away 80 bikes to the first attendees! As guests received their bikes, joy was written all over their faces. The entire event was filled with smiles and laughter; from the swimming pool, to the pavement. Staff members even saw the young people riding their new bikes the very next day at another community event. These are the joys of giving back to our community.
The Family Swim and Wellness Fair aimed to promote physical activity, water safety, and overall well-being for families in the North Minneapolis community. Attendees had the opportunity to participate in complimentary swim lessons facilitated by qualified instructors, such as Dr. Ayanna Rakhu, ensuring that everyone can learn essential water safety skills. The lessons were designed for all ages and skill levels, from beginners to advanced swimmers.
Another highlight of the event was a special guest appearance by Olympic gold medalist, world record holder and a friend of V3 Sports, Cullen Jones. As an accomplished athlete and advocate for water safety, Cullen shared his inspiring journey and provided valuable insights into the world of competitive swimming, finishing with, “I never would have expected swimming would get me to where I am today.” It’s inspiring to have a gold medal winner standing in the same room as you, and on top of that, the attendees had the opportunity to meet Cullen, ask questions, and even get autographs and pictures.
One of the V3 Sports swim instructors, Dr. Ayanna Rakhu, stood up and gave a brief speech about the important work V3 is doing and will expand upon with the opening of the new V3 Center in early 2024. She thanked guests for participating and being part of the event and shared her excitement to “serve the community by providing more opportunities for us to swim together, bike together, run and play together.” It’s always a beautiful thing when the community can come together to elevate one another, share resources, education, and experiences that are shaping a brighter future for our community and truly making a difference.
Aquatic learning is embedded in a lot of the current V3 weekly activities. Dr. Rakhu is leading the V3 Sports Swim 2 Earn program, where people in our community get an opportunity to become lifeguard certified and get paid upon completing the training. “Swim to Earn is unique because it allows participants to learn and practice the lifeguarding skills and build their comfort in the water prior take the lifeguard certification exam. In this way they build confidence in their skills and develop connections within their cohort. They are also set up to succeed at passing the exam. In addition to their training, they receive payment for their participation, which helps them equate economic development with skills training.” – Dr. Ayanna Rakhu.
Every Thursday night, Dr. Rakhu trains a group of young adults, predominantly Black and Hmong swimmers, to become lifeguard certified. This month has been jam-packed with aquatic learning and fun in the water; a total of 6 “Swim to Earn” sessions and some events. The next series of “Swim to Earn’ sessions will begin in September. This program has already garnered enthusiastic participation and has been making waves in fostering aquatic skills among our community members.
To say V3 is making a splash in our community is an understatement. There has been a shortage of lifeguards due to multiple factors, including the recent 2020 pandemic. Not only is there a shortage of lifeguards, there’s a shortage of qualified lifeguards. This is where V3 plays a critical role in our community – V3 is training qualified lifeguards that will keep the people in our pools and other bodies of water safe. V3 recognizes the void that exists in aquatic learning and is doing something about it!
The V3 Center is going to increase V3’s ability to achieve this success in educating young people and adults how to swim and provide more opportunities to become lifeguard certified. Although high on V3’s priority list, all year swimming opportunities are one of many beautiful things that the V3 Center is providing for our North Minneapolis community; amongst them a therapy pool, healthy food options, a day care, and more. If you’d like to support the V3 Center and V3 Sports mission to elevate our community – click here to contribute.