Psychology and sociology double major Skye Westra has a goal to make the water a safe place for everyone.
As president of the Carolina Swim Clinic, Westra volunteers every Sunday at Bowman Gray Indoor Pool, giving free swim lessons to Spanish-speaking children in Chapel Hill.
But she wants to do more.
Westra is running for Miss UNC in an effort to promote water safety and education for children in the area.
“Yeah, we are hitting the Hispanic community but it would be great to get more kids involved in making sure that they know how to swim,” she said.
She began thinking about running for Miss UNC in September when a friend considered running and told her about it.
“I was thinking ‘Oh, I could do something like this,’” Westra said. “I have a great project in mind, this would be awesome to implement.”
Westra’s plans for her service project are to hold free classes for third-grade students in Chapel Hill and Carrboro schools. Students would be invited to participate in one of three classes in the spring. The classes would go over water safety and give children who may have never had swim lessons an opportunity to gain experience in the water.
“I want to have it in April, when it’s starting to get warmer, and kids are probably going to start going to the pool,” Westra said. “I want to make sure they’re safe and don’t feel uncomfortable when their friends are jumping in the water but they might not want to, or they jump in and don’t know what to do next.”
Westra said she spoke with the UNC Aquatics Director for permission to use Bowman Gray Pool for her classes. Westra plans to find volunteers for her classes through the Carolina Swim Clinic.
Westra is a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority and is active in the Greek community. UNC Panhellenic Council officially endorsed Westra.
“I’m just really excited and I just want people to know, at least, if I don’t win, about Carolina Swim Clinic because it’s a great organization and we’re always looking for more volunteers because the more volunteers we have, the more kids we can teach,” she said.