Dear Queen's Supporter,
Medical student Ben Frid knows that drowning is still the leading cause of death in children, and he also knows that children with special needs are at even greater risk around the water. For them, learning to swim is a crucial element of their personal safety.
But for parents of special needs children, it can be very difficult to get their children enrolled in swimming lessons. Often their children need personalized, one-on-one instruction, which can be very expensive.
Ben wanted to make waves.
Identifying a need, he founded Making Waves Kingston to help these children. Ben, a member of Meds’15 and president of the Aesculapian Society, the medical student government at Queen’s, founded the chapter in 2011 when he came to Queen’s to attend medical school. Before that, he had already started a chapter in Ottawa in 2009.
The Making Waves program offers one-on-one swimming instruction to children with special needs for the affordable cost of $25 for a whole season of lessons. There are currently 38 children enrolled in the class that meets each week at the pool in the Queen's Athletics and Recreation Centre.
These children’s challenges run from autism to Down syndrome to cerebral palsy. Making Waves Kingston welcomes all children, no matter what their special needs might be.
Ben says that as well as learning to swim, the Making Waves program has other benefits for these children. They seem to do better in school, their general behaviour improves, and it’s a great opportunity for them to socialize and make new friends.
After graduation, Ben plans to specialize in Family Medicine and continue to work with children. In the meantime, several other medical students have joined forces with Ben to help with Making Waves Kingston. Together, they demonstrate the kind of passion that is typical of our Queen’s Medicine students.
There are so many other examples of inspiring student initiatives. I think of Books with Wings, a program that has our students partnering with the Royal Canadian Air Force to send medical textbooks to Afghanistan. Or the work our medical students put into the annual Queen’s Health and Human Rights Conference. Part of our vision is to advance care and inspire change. I see our students doing just that every day.
At the Queen’s Medical School, we want to create a generation of doctors who are better than their teachers. I believe we are succeeding. But we can’t do it without you. Please join me in adding your support to the Medical School Excellence Fund, where every gift creates opportunity.
Richard K. Reznick, MD, MEd, FRCSC, FACS, FRCSEd (hon), FRCSI (hon)
Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences
CEO, Southeastern Ontario Academic Medical Organization