YWCA Evanston/North Shore held its annual Oz Relay on May 18-19, generating $26,000 to support children in its Flying Fish aquatics programs. The $26,000 included money raised from the Oz Meet, a Flying Fish intrasquad competition, which was held a few days before the relay.
The total amount raised is enough to cover a full session (seven weeks) of swim lessons for 300 children whose families cannot afford the cost.
The Oz Relay and Oz Meet are named for swim instructor and coach Oswald Roper, who died in 2013 after serving as an integral part of the Flying Fish aquatics program for nearly 20 years.
Hundreds of current Flying Fish swimmers, former swimmers, parents, community members, and YWCA staff participated in the Oz Relay, which was a continuous swim of five lanes of participants over a 24-hour period.
“Because of the generosity of those who swam in the Oz Relay, the Oz Meet, or donated, we are able to expand our outreach to children who might not otherwise learn to swim or participate in aquatics,” said Pete Caragher, YWCA Evanston/North Shore’s aquatics director and head coach of the Flying Fish. “Swimming is such an important public health and safety issue, especially here along the lakefront.”
Added Karen Singer, president and CEO of YWCA Evanston/North Shore, “We are grateful to those who participated and those who showed their support through sponsorships and donations. Oswald believed in teaching as many children to swim as possible. This is a wonderful way to honor his legacy.”
YWCA Evanston/North Shore is on a mission to eliminate racism and empower women, and Flying Fish Aquatics aligns with that mission by providing access and opportunity for all. To learn more about Oswald Roper or to donate in his memory, go to www.ywca-ens.org/oz-relay/