How To Become a Volunteer

Our volunteers tell us time and time again that involvement in SWAM (formerly SwimAbility) has been one of the most rewarding experiences of their time at the University of Waterloo. SWAMvolunteers come from diverse backgrounds, and are involved in many diverse fields and levels of study at the University of Waterloo. The unique personal strengths and experiences that each volunteer brings to the program are a big part of what makes us such a vibrant and successful organization. 
Please note that our one-on-one pool leaders are recruited and teach on a strictly volunteer basis. None receive monetary compensation of any kind. Volunteers are expected to be present at the pool 5-10 minutes before the pool session starts and then to work with their assigned student in the pool for 30-60 minutes each week, for a 8-9-week session. Since the same child and volunteer are paired together for an entire session, it is imperative that volunteers try not to miss any lessons, if possible, to allow for continuity of progress and to help build a bond of trust and reliability between student and teacher. The kids really look forward to seeing the same volunteer each week and may be quite disappointed if they are not able to swim with their usual person. 

Please email us at if you are interested in becoming a volunteer swim leader with SWAM Kitchener-Waterloo for the Fall 2020 Term. 
Although our typical volunteer recruitment periods are August-September and December-January, we are always looking for new volunteers! Please note that if you apply outside of the aforementioned recruitment periods, our response may be slower than usual.

In addition to strong swimming skills, qualified applicants will have:

  • Teaching experience (preferably, but not necessarily, swimming-related)
  • Experience working with children
  • Experience working with persons with disabilities

Because SWAM is a non-certificate program, possession of valid certifications (such as NLS or WSI) is not a formal requirement to becoming a volunteer (although it is a strong asset). A fully certified lifeguard is always on duty during lessons.

Volunteer Testimonials

“I love the casual and comfortable environment that SwimAbility provides. We are a team who not only supports one another, but also the children and the families we meet. It is a time full of fun and learning for both the swimmers and the volunteers.”

“I’m a fairly new volunteer with SwimAbility and I love it. It’s a great way to help out the community and get to know some amazing kids. The people I work with are all so nice and helpful and between them and the enthusiastic kids every minute of it is a blast. There’s no feeling that compares to when one of the sweet kids gets excited because they learned a new skill or are doing something they love.”