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I can swim!

Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 4:17 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - They can bike and they can swim: this special program is all about helping special needs children reach or exceed their potential.

Children with special needs or disabilities don’t always get the same chance to learn new things as other children. That’s why programs like I Can Swim are so valuable.

It’s not every day you can learn a skill as important as swimming.

12-year-old Laila Robertson, who could not swim at the beginning of this week, made tremendous progress.

“I can swim. I do float, I do back float. I can blow bubbles,” Laila said.

It’s hard to imagine a child more lovable than Laila. And though Laila has Down Syndrome, she clearly brings everybody up with her joy and enthusiasm.

“I love you,” Laila said to volunteer Melanie Sarro.

“My sweet girl. And I love her too,” Melanie said.

Melanie Sarro dedicates much of her time to providing this program and others to help children make the most of their abilities.

“I think it’s very important that everyone knows how to swim, especially in Southwest Louisiana where we have all this water,” Melanie said. “But the number one cause of death for children with autism and disabilities is drowning because she can’t swim. So I think it’s very important that all children know how to swim.”

Danon Jackson is a first-time volunteer here and says it’s been wonderful.

“This is the most I’ve smiled in a week,” Jackson said. “I’ve like smiled so much this week. It’s just a joyful thing because you see these kids learning something new and they’re just like always smiling and just happy and it just brings a smile to your face.”

And each and every one won gold as they wrapped up a week of learning skills that could save their lives.

“My super star!” said Melanie Sarro.

Thirty children were in the classes this week and there is a waiting list, so they really need more volunteers.

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