Help save the YWCA Clinton's pool

Editor's Note: Periodically, YWCA members, staff and volunteers are featured highlighting the many facets of our community in which they’re a part of. This month, YWCA member and former YWCA Board of Directors member Tami Leavens discusses why the YWCA pool is a necessary community resource.

The YWCA swimming pool is an integral part of my life. Several years ago, I received the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.

At the time, I was working as a registered nurse, but as the disease and severity of symptoms progressed, I was forced into early retirement.

My doctors advised me to stay active to preserve my health. The way I’ve been able to do that is through swimming. This therapeutic, low-impact exercise has allowed me to maintain my ability to walk, keep weight off, and help circulate blood throughout my body. Having year-round access to an indoor pool is not a luxury for me; regular and consistent exercise is imperative for my health and to retain my mobility.

Recently, I have learned that my lifeline is now in jeopardy of surviving! Due to the increasing costs of things like staffing, utilities, and insurance coupled with the ongoing maintenance and repair costs of running a pool, current revenue from the YWCA Clinton pool is no longer sufficient, and the pool is losing money.

Every night I go to bed wondering what am I going to do? Due to my physical limitations, I cannot do many other forms of exercise; that is just a fact. I have cried tears with many other swimmers over the prospect of losing this vital community resource.

And while I depend on the YWCA pool for my health, I know I am not the only one affected by the prospect of it closing. In a river town with water safety so important, how are our children going to learn swimming and important water-safety skills? How are those with balance issues who need the buoyancy of the water in order to exercise going to continue working out? Where will our local Special Olympics athletes practice? Or those participating in the physical therapy programs after surgeries or injuries… how will they heal?

No, I am certainly not the only one who would be significantly affected by the closing of the YWCA Clinton pool.

I wish that I had the ability to provide the finances that are required by a community swimming pool. Unfortunately, I do not have the ability to work due to my medical complications, so I go to sleep at night praying that the pool will be saved.

What I can do is share my story to hopefully shine a light on how important an indoor pool is to so many in our community. If you are able, I ask you to please help support this vital community resource by becoming a YWCA Splash Sponsor.

A gift of $1,000 will fully cover all pool-related expenses for one day. We are looking for 360 individuals to join together as Splash Sponsors and fund the pool for one year. Several of you have already stepped up, and I thank you. More are needed, however. Beyond Splash Sponsorships, YWCA Clinton offers many ways for you to get involved. For example, you can choose whichever one that speaks to your heart by funding items like new lockers, new sauna, new flooring in the existing sauna, new ADA-approved pool access steps, or a new water purification system.

To donate online, please visit http://bit.ly/SaveYWCAPool, scroll to the bottom of the page and click “donate.” However, you can make an even bigger impact by clicking “Start Fundraising” to easily set up your own online fundraising page. Share this page with your friends and family and let them know how important the YWCA Clinton pool is to you and our community.

You can also give in person at YWCA Clinton or mail a check to YWCA Clinton, 317 Seventh Ave. South, Clinton, IA 52732. Just be sure to note “Pool donation” in the memo. If you have more questions, please contact YWCA Clinton Executive Director Shannon Sander-Welzien at 242-2110, Ext.101, or via email at ed@ywcaclinton.org.

Thank you for allowing me to share my story and joining me in the fight to save our pool!

Tami Marie Leavens, RN, MSN

Clinton