It goes without saying that 2020 has been a challenging one for the entire FOSS family, including our students, their families, our employees, and our communities. But we know that we at Foss Swim School still have a lot to be grateful for, and we are making it our mission to do what we can to spread our good fortune to support worthy causes in our communities.
We’d like to share as an example a few of the non-profits that we supported this year, and how they reflect our values and larger mission of supporting child development. This year, given all that has transpired in communities, schools and homes, we looked for ways to help combat some of the challenges confronting kids and parents during what should be a time when kids are aided, guided and given opportunities to reach their full potential.
FOSS schools engage in charitable activity in each community we serve across several states, whether it’s working to teach swimming to new Americans in Fargo, ND or participating in community events in Chicago or St. Louis. This year, one of our special causes was to look for ways to help the community around our St. Paul, MN location, which was a scene of crisis and unrest in May.
Here are some of the organizations we chose to support in 2020 in the Twin Cities area, and how their missions intersect with our own:
- Face 2 Face: Since 1972, Face 2 Face has been serving young people experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless in Ramsey County, MN, where St. Paul is located. The organization provides comprehensive medical care, mental healthcare, housing support, case management, employment training and support, and other social services to low-income and insecurely housed youth ages 11 to 24. Face 2 Face has served over 2,500 youth between the ages of 11 and 24 last year. They are connected with an additional 5,500 youth through their health education outreach and are currently the only drop-in center for youth experiencing homelessness in Ramsey County.
- The Sanneh Foundation: The Sanneh Foundation’s mission is to empower youth by supporting and promoting educational attainment through in-school and after-school support; to improve lives by providing programs that strengthen physical health and social and emotional development; and to unite communities by advancing diversity, equity, and community well- being. We especially appreciate their focus on sports, exercise, and physical health and well-being as a key part of child development.
- The Wilder Foundation: The mission of the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation is to promote the social welfare of people in the greater St. Paul metropolitan area. As a large and well-connected organization with a history stretching back to 1942, we appreciate The Wilder Foundation’s ability to tackle complex challenges and work alongside government, community groups, and non-profits of all types and sizes. Among its many services are several of special importance to FOSS, including childcare and pre-school services, family independence initiatives, supportive housing services and others that directly impact the well-being of kids.
- CycleHealth: CycleHealth, a kid-powered wellness program based in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, is helping kids engage in healthy activities outside the normal parameters of youth sports. FOSS was an original sponsor of CycleHealth and continues to sponsor and partner with the group. CycleHealth hosts four major kid adventure events each year, including the Breakaway Tri, a kid-friendly triathlon that FOSS partners with to help run the swim component of the race. Read more about CycleHealth and keeping kids active in unusual times here.
- Youth Frontiers: Youth Frontiers’ mission is to provide schools with experiences that inspire character, civility and community. They offer one-day retreats focused on timeless values like kindness, courage and respect. In 2020, Foss Swim School sponsored Youth Frontiers’ annual fundraising event, which helped raise funds to deliver character and leadership development programs for an estimated 130,000 elementary, middle and high school students, educators, parents and community members.
Thank you for sticking with us in 2020. We feel lucky to be part of your lives and to serve our communities. We look forward to a healthy new year with you in 2021!