The Swimsuit Project
One of the long-standing commitments of Gecko Inc. is not just to provide swimming lessons for the children of Colombo, but to also provide them with the materials that they need to succeed in the water. When the previous leaders handed off the reins, they left me and my co-leaders with the responsibility of completing one of their most ambitious projects – purchasing and distributing swimsuits to the children of Gecko Inc. As many of the program’s participants live in poverty, they do not have access to resources such as swimsuits, goggles, and towels. This ambitious undertaking aimed to mitigate this issue and to ensure that the children had the proper gear to reach their full potential as swimmers.
On October 10th, the project finally came to an end. At the beginning of our usual session, we held an informal gathering in which we presented each of the participants with their own swimsuit. This moment was one of great pride for myself and for my fellow service members, as we got to witness the work of previous years and previous leaders come to fruition. It was truly an honor to be a part of the process and to be able to provide these incredibly deserving kids with something that would have such a great impact on their lives.
In the future, we plan to enhance our fundraising efforts in order to gain the ability to undertake more ambitious projects and to expand our operations. After purchasing the swimsuits, we still had some money leftover from a previous fundraiser in which we sold gecko-themed towels to the OSC swim team, and we are currently deciding whether to use this money to start a new fundraiser or begin purchasing more equipment. I personally believe that we should use the capital we have to begin creating marketable products that we can use to increase our assets and ultimately provide a larger number of higher-quality resources to our children. To take this step, we would meet with our contacts in the textile industry to discuss what kind of product would be best for us. At this time, we believe that this may be a small, cheap item that can be marketed to everyone, such as gecko-themed socks. The accrued funds will be used to purchase goggles for the children, and we hope to see this project completed by the end of this school year.
The swimsuit project can be tied to several relevant learning outcomes, especially those related to planning and showing commitment to CAS experiences. The full list includes:
- Identifying strengths and develop areas for growth
- The project has allowed me to better understand my personal strengths concerning carrying out CAS experiences as well as where I could grow. My strong areas proved to be carrying out the project and meeting deadlines, while my weaker areas proved to be setting concrete plans
- Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process
- As my first major service project, this undertaking was certainly a challenge and I was able to develop a plethora of useful skills in the process.
- Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience
- My role in the project is clearly indicative of my ability to initiate and plan a CAS experience.
- Show commitment to and perseverance in CAS experiences
- As the major contributors to the project (The previous service leaders Lukas and Tavin) graduated at the end of the previous year, Andrew, Marco, and I were left to complete the swimsuit project on our own. Our ability to complete the process effectively and successfully clearly demonstrated our commitment and perseverance.
- Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance
- Almost all of our interactions with the kids are demonstrative of our engagement with a globally significant issue (transferring basic swimming skills to underprivileged children in Sri Lanka), and this project was no different. By giving the children swimsuits, we were better equipping them to gain valuable water safety skills.