People Who Move Us: Lisa Cook of All KidSwim

All KidSwim

Lisa Cook of All KidSwim.

Lisa Cook is the Founder, CEO & Master Swim Coach of All KidSwim. The nonprofit organization provides early childhood swim education to underserved communities nationwide. The outreach combines in-class water safety instruction and foundational education practices for kids 5 and under. The core values promoted are included in its mission statement “Unity, Inclusion, Equity and Drowning Prevention.”

In the swim of things.

All KidSwimLisa Cook loves water. From the age of 18, Lisa not only taught swimming, but worked as a lifeguard, aquatic director and swim coach. She continued these endeavors throughout college, where she earned a degree in History and a teaching credential. She stayed at home with her first child. Lisa started a summer-only instructional swim lesson business when her husband, a high school teacher, was on break. The business continued to grow. It eventually expanded to a year-round business with over 15 instructors working at several pools in the Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and San Francisco areas.

A stroke of inspiration.All KidSwim

Lisa Cook has always incorporated community service and nonprofit programs into her life. About 15 years ago, she became fixated on the idea to bring swim lessons and water safety education to underserved communities in Los Angeles. With COVID and the George Floyd tragedy, this desire overflooded her heart. With 70% of Black children and 60% of Latino children not knowing how to swim, Black and Latino children are 3 times more likely to drown.  Swim lessons reduce the likelihood of a child drowning by 88%. Lisa felt moved and motivated to dive in and create All KidSwim.

Crushing laps.

All KidSwimA significant milestone for Lisa Cook is connecting with other incredible nonprofit organizations. Through social media, she found like-minded people across the country and nationwide who also wanted to assist under-resourced communities. In early 2021, All KidSwim partnered with Tankproof, which All KidSwim now collaborates with for their Los Angeles summer event. Lisa provided water safety education through in-person and virtual water safety talks. She also donated copies of her children’s book, See Me Bubble, to the children of Central Texas and Los Angeles.

Lisa is also quite proud of the All KidSwim team, whose growth and invigorating motivation to help underserved kids is inspirational. Lisa’s team promotes positive energy and hope, especially at a time when we all desperately need it. She praises the teen volunteers recruited to help Tankproof with the LA summer event. According to Lisa, these are “great young adults, so professional, caring, enthusiastic and eager. It was lovely to watch the next generation of great instructors.”

A pool of accomplishments.All KidSwim

Of all the kids that All KidSwim has helped, Lisa Cook most fondly remembers the little girl she taught when she and colleague Allie met with Tankproof in Austin, Texas. When Lisa got to the pool that cold morning, she noticed the little girl, sitting off to the side, shivering. Lisa knew the water was cold too, and for little ones learning to swim, it can make the experience difficult. So Lisa jumped in and brought the little girl into the water, rubbing her arms and back to warm her up. Lisa then began to move her around, kicking, gliding and floating. The little girl barely spoke English, so Lisa relied heavily on her facial cues. Lisa smiled at her a lot and repeatedly told her how well she was doing (she smiled back a few times too). 

As Lisa glanced around the pool, she saw all the instructors enthusiastically engaged with their kids. She felt a sense of comfort and belonging that had become rare in the time of COVID. “For those of us who love to swim, love to teach, and love to share that skill with others, this was a really gratifying moment,” says Lisa.

When the lesson ended and everyone got out of the pool, Lisa wrapped her little student in a towel. As the group gathered for a celebratory cheer, the little girl, who barely spoke during the lesson, declared, “I had fun.” That was all she said, but that was all she needed to say. So Lisa bent down, shook her hand and said “I’m so glad, I had fun too.”

Swimming into the future.

All KidSwimIn fall 2021 and spring 2022, Lisa Cook’s goal is to get All KidSwim into additional classrooms, increase school programs for water safety education and sign more kids up for swim lessons. She also wants to establish a training program for swim instructors. She looks forward to collaborating with other water safety organizations and advocates. In partnership with Tankproof, All KidSwim plans help Tankproof expand their nationwide free swim lesson and food security program. Lisa expects that challenges will increase exponentially as All KidSwim attempts to reach a larger audience, conquer more aggressive goals and requires higher fundraising. Lisa Cook envisions the day when every preschooler is enrolled in All KidSwim and learning lifesaving skills. We join her in that vision.

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Images via AllKidSwim.org