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Operation Splash Celebrates Summer and Special Olympics

Kaiser Permanente Southern California Grant Funds Free Swim Lessons for Southern California Families

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Ariel Revivo’s swimming really took off when she joined the Special Olympics swim team through the City of Los Angeles. Revivo,13, has won several medals, the most recent one from the Special Olympics Summer Games. “My favorite is freestyle. I like to swim because it makes me feel free, when I close my eyes it’s like being in the ocean,” said Revivo.

This 7th grader has overcome incredible odds. She is autistic and was born with hip dysplasia. At the age of one, Revivo wore a full body cast for an entire year. As a result, she did not learn to crawl or walk, like most toddlers. Even after surgery and physical therapy Revivo had problems balancing. It was not until she joined the city’s Special Olympics swim program about three years ago, that she became more mobile and started building muscle. “Swimming helps me get stronger and lose weight. I like to tell people, don’t be afraid, you’ll be fine, just do it,” added Revivo.

This summer she will apply for an Operation Splash scholarship to continue her lessons. Operation Splash, now in its ninth year, is a free summer program sponsored by Kaiser Permanente that teaches children and adults in low-income areas to swim.

Operation Splash season officially kicked off at Stoner Park pool in West Los Angeles by celebrating the joy and unparalleled spirit of Special Olympics athletes such as Revivo who take to city pools with the dream of competing in Special Olympic events.

“Kaiser Permanente recognizes that total health involves body, mind, and spirit. Operation Splash exemplifies everything Kaiser Permanente stands for: embracing diversity, promoting physical activity, helping in the fight against childhood and adult obesity and strengthening the overall health of our communities,” said Benjamin Chu, MD, MPH, MACP, group president for Kaiser Permanente Southern California and Hawaii. “We are committed to making total health accessible to everyone.”

In 2015, the Special Olympics World Summer Games will come to Los Angeles and Kaiser Permanente will proudly serve as a founding champion and total health partner.

“Operation Splash makes a big difference by offering active learning and exercise opportunities to our city's youngest residents," said Eric Garcetti, mayor of Los Angeles. “This is about strengthening our communities while supporting a worthy cause."

GOOD TO KNOW

The Operation Splash grant to the Department of Recreation and Parks Aquatics Division provides:

  • Free swim lessons for 6,000 children, teens, and adults at 33 pools across Los Angeles
  • Junior lifeguard training for 780 youth at 46 sites
  • Increased participation in the Rethink Your Drink Campaign, which raises awareness about sugary beverages and their contribution to the obesity epidemic.

Since the inception of Operation Splash in 2006, Kaiser Permanente has granted nearly $5 million to swimming programs around Southern California.

Additional Operation Splash grants in 2014 include:

  • Department of Recreation and Parks Aquatics Division
  • City of San Bernardino, Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department, San Bernardino, $30,000
  • City of Riverside, Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department, Riverside, $55,000
  • Desert Recreation District, Coachella Valley Recreation and Park District, Indio, $55,000
  • North of the River Recreation and Park District, Bakersfield, $35,000
  • City of Ventura, Community Services Department, Ventura, $35,000
  • Friends of Chula Vista Parks and Recreation, Chula Vista, $55,000