BY REBECCA PALMER
CLEARFIELD — When Kristal James worked with patients as she earned her master’s degree in counseling, she often found herself referring to things she had learned in the swimming pool.
When she got back into the water to teach swimming lessons and support herself while she studied, she often applied principles from her child therapy classes.
After one of James’ family members started having health problems, the West Point mom realized that she could combine her two passions to create a hands-on way for parents and children to work on relationships and behavior challenges: Get them all in the pool.
Soon afterward, Acquaire was born. On one level, the startup organization is swimming lessons. For $85, children can learn to swim during four 40-minute sessions. It all happens at local public pools.
On another level, nonprofit Acquaire is therapy for conditions ranging from autism to Down Syndrome, or even problems as mild as disruptive behavior in school, depression, or withdrawal. It can also help divorced parents get on the same page, or can help families with adopted children become accustomed to new living arrangements, according to James.
The program doesn’t bill insurance, and you don’t need to be diagnosed with anything to participate. However, instructors are trained in both swimming and counseling.
“Being in the water is so effective,” James said.
James has applied for a cash prize with the Grow America Springboard 2012 Competition, which offers no-strings-attached money to reward entrepreneurs, help businesses hire new people and improve local economies. The deadline for the fall competition is today, Aug. 30. For more information, visit growam.com/springboard/.
Today's deadline is for the Fall Competition, which splits $250,000 among 12 winners. Businesses that participate in that competition or in one that was held in spring of 2012 are eligible for a Championship Contest where $500,000 is up for grabs. The final contest will take place later this year.
If James wins the cash, she will use it to expand her program across Utah and to raise awareness about it. Donate to her cause or sign up for lessons at aquaire.org.
Read success stories from Aquaire in the Aug. 30 edition of the Clipper.