Lindsey Colavito loves her time in the pool, and the most recent victory in her personal journey is landing a job teaching children to do the same.
As a part-time swim instructor at the Stanly County YMCA in Albemarle, Colavito has taught beginner lessons to three- and four-year-olds who attend the Y’s day care program, as well as second graders from the local school system.
Working at the Y is the latest in a string of accomplishments for 31-year-old Colavito as she continues to deal with being diagnosed with a brain tumor at age 13 and undergoing major surgery that once affected her short-term memory.
Never giving up on her dream of going to school and finding meaningful employment working with children, she has tackled many obstacles. The security of living in one of Monarch’s residential homes and having the assistance of one-on-one staff has added to her sense of independence. And rehabilitation, speech therapy, physical therapy and a tremendous amount of sheer determination have brought her closer to her goal of getting her bachelor’s degree.
Colavito has earned degrees in Early Childhood Education and Business from Stanly Community College, graduating with honors, and she has volunteered with Stanly County Kids Academy working with preschool children.
“It has not been easy, but I’ll keep going,” Colavito said. “Working at the Y is such a wonderful step for me, and I love it. Working with children is my passion. I love feeling like I’m making a difference in their lives.”
She remembers her father teaching her to swim when she was not much older than the preschoolers in her class. She cried at first, but never wanted to get out of the pool once she got the hang of it. Now, she watches her young students go from being afraid to get in the water to squirming with excitement on the side of the pool as they wait for their next turn to jump in.
“Everybody needs to know how to swim,” said Colavito, the winner of several Special Olympics medals for swimming. “It’s a skill for a lifetime. Once you learn it, no one will take it away from you, and you never know when you’ll need it.”