The following article originally appeared in the March 2014 issue of “Our Valley Magazine”. You can view it at www.ourvalleygroup.com

As a woman entrepreneur, Nikki Miller is creating opportunities for dreams to come true for others, by reaching out to families in the at-risk populations in the form of scholarships for children and job training for single mothers. As a local partner of the USA Swimming Foundation, Miller is bringing the mission of the USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash initiative to Santa Clarita and surrounding communities through her facilities in Valencia and Newhall. The Aquatic Safety Awareness Program has initiated collaborations with the SCV Latino Chamber of Commerce, and Single Mothers Outreach, to accept students into a swim scholarship program (Feb 1 – Nov 26, 2014). The scholarship program seeks to improve the quality of life for at-risk families by providing life- saving water safety skills in a safe, clean, structured and nurturing environment while mentoring youth for success in life.

“Swimming lessons will not only give the children constructive after school activities but will educate them in a life-saving skill. We need as many opportunities as possible to bring hope and sustainability through training and gainful employment,” said DaAnne Smith, Executive Director of Single Mothers Outreach.

According to national research: * 70 percent of African American children have low or no swimming ability; * 60 percent of Latino children have low or no swimming ability; * 40 percent of Caucasian children have low or no swimming ability; * 10 people drown each day in the United States.

“We believe swimming lessons provide an opportunity for local Latino and Latina youths to begin embracing aquatics for safety and success. Swim lessons through Academy Swim Club’s Aquatic Safety Awareness Program open a new world for children and their families. As California residents we participate in year round water activities and it is our desire to help families recognize the importance of water safety. We are also excited about the employment opportunities resulting from the certification program,” says Bill Miranda, CEO of the Latino Chamber of Commerce.

“It is a win/win situation to offer employment opportunities for single mothers to re-enter the work force through instructor certification and training program while children learn life-saving skills,” said Miller.

Find out more about the scholarships by contacting the Aquatic Safety Awareness Program at asapsocal@swim4life or call Academy Swim Club at (661) 702-8585. We applaud Nikki Miller fulfilling her mantra “Swim4Life” by introducing an ocean of opportunities in water safety and women’s success.

Gloria Locke is a Santa Clarita resident and producer of “SCV-Arts & Entertainment,” which airs Fridays and Sundays on SCVTV.