On June 26, the Riverside Community College District Foundation hosted a celebration for 400 Longfellow and Jefferson elementary school students who successfully completed the free, two-week Starting Blocks swimming and water safety program at the Riverside Aquatics Complex.
Starting Blocks began in June 2011 following the opening of the Olympic-quality aquatics venue at Riverside City College. It is credited with opening up recreational swimming opportunities to more than 1,600 disadvantaged youth.
Tom and Candace Spiel, local McDonalds franchise owners, provided healthy snacks for the participants. They also presented a $10,000 check on behalf of the Ronald McDonald House Charities.
“We are committed to Starting Blocks, and want to thank The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California and our public and private partners for making this wonderful program a reality,” said RCCD Foundation Board President Dwight Tate. “To date, more than $50,000 has been raised in support of the program.”
Riverside-based Tilden-Coil Constructors is a founding partner, along with the Riverside Community College District, the RCCD Foundation, and the Riverside Unified School District. Other major supporters include the Kiwanis Club of Riverside, Assistance League of Riverside, American Medical Response, Cutter Fund, The Optimist Club, Riverside Public Utilities, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California, Provident Bank Charitable Foundation, and the Spiels.
“I want to thank everyone for their continued support. It means a lot to our students who perhaps would not have the same opportunity to learn how to swim,” said Maria Ortega, principal at Jefferson Elementary. “Not only does this program raise awareness, but it also encourages parents to continue swim lessons for their children.
To learn more about Starting Blocks or to contribute, contact the RCCD Foundation at (951) 222-8626.