Covid Update:

During the COVID-19 Crisis we have suspended our in-water classes and we are providing FREE online exercise classes for our special kids. Please help support our efforts to keep our kids active, healthy, and engaged.

Experience
Water Magic!

Special Needs Aquatic Program

Build
Confidence
and
Skills

Enjoy
Fitness,
Fun and
Friendship

About Us

Classes

Volunteer

ABOUT SNAPkids!

Since 1991, SNAP has empowered children with special needs to exercise, swim, connect with others, make friends and enjoy the gifts of childhood through a community based and accessible adapted aquatics program. SNAPkids gives children with special challenges and gifts a place for their lights to shine brightly, to be respected and included, to exercise, play and have fun! Our volunteers work one-on-one, creating unique bonds with our swimmers and developing insights and sensitivities which ultimately make our communities more accepting and inclusive.

Water is the great equalizer, welcoming and forgiving, enabling the freedom of movement with joyfulness of play. The water can help children with balance, coordination, strength, fitness, focus, communication, social skills, and confidence. Many of the children in SNAP use the water as their primary source of physical activity and exercise. SNAP is a great social outlet and creates a caring and open community for the children, families, and volunteers who participate.

CLASSES & SERVICES

UPDATE: During the COVID-19 Crisis we have suspended in-water classes. Join us for our FREE online exercise classes (class schedule) to help keep our kids active and engaged. Complete the Registration info form and we’ll send you class details.

At SNAPkids we respect each child’s gifts and challenges and let the beauty of each swimmer shine. Discovery happens each week as children with special needs swim, play, make friends, and have fun as they gain confidence and independence. Children participate in adapted aquatic programs tailored to address their physical, developmental, and social needs. Along with individual attention, swimmers participate in group games, songs, and activities which foster communication, social and play skills, and friendships. With the help of our dedicated volunteers each swimmer receives the attention, support, and love they need to reach their potential.

SNAPkids accepts swimmers from 1 to 18 years old with a variety of special needs. Common diagnoses include cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophies, spina bifida, autism, developmental delays, and a variety of genetic conditions. Swimmers must be medically stable and safe to participate in a community based program. For our youngest children, parents may be requested to participate as well as you enjoy the benefits of playing and learning together in the water.

Each swimmer is partnered with 1-2 volunteer helpers who provide individual attention and enthusiasm and implement programs tailored to the needs of the child. Programs are developed by our director, Dori Maxon PT, MEd, a pediatric physical therapist and our most experienced volunteers, and implemented by volunteers overseen by our site manager.

Please check with us regarding class fees. SNAPkids offers a scholarship program because we feel that financial need should not be a barrier to participating.

SNAPkids Berkeley

Classes are held at the Downtown Berkeley YMCA (2001 Allston Road). We swim in warm water pools with chair lifts available. Fall and Spring sessions run for 10 weeks, and Summer session for 5 weeks.  Classes are 45 minutes and meet on Fridays at 5:15, 6:15 and Sundays at 11:45, 12:45, 1:45.

SNAPkids Palo Alto

Classes are held at the Palo Alto Family YMCA (3412 Ross Road). We use the warmer instructional pool and the cooler lap pool. Our Fall, Winter, and Spring sessions run for 7 weeks, and Summer for 5 weeks TBD. Classes are 45 minutes and meet on Fridays at 4:30, 5:15, 6:00.

In-water Assessments and Consultations

Swimmers begin with in-water assessments so we can design a program that can best meet their needs. We also work with families, swim teachers, and/or therapists to design aquatic programs.

Training

We offer professional training and support to aquatic and therapy professionals and agencies that support children with special needs.

 

UPDATE: During the COVID-19 Crisis we have suspended in-water classes. Join us for our FREE online exercise classes (calendar) to help keep our kids active and engaged. Complete the Volunteer form and we’ll send you class details.

VOLUNTEERS

Our swimmers need partners to swim and you make that happen! Swimming with our special swimmers may just be the highlight of your week and change you forever. The relationships built between our volunteers and swimmers are extremely special – you’ll find beauty each week, grow in ways you didn’t expect, and see the world through a new lens. We hope you will bring your new insights into your day-to-day life to help make our world a more inclusive and welcoming place. On the practical side, the skills you learn at SNAP can help in future schooling, careers, and beyond!

To volunteer you must be a good swimmer, 15 years old and up (retirees are welcome), have a playful side, be open to learning, and enjoy being with children. SNAPkids currently has two locations, Berkeley and Palo Alto.

SNAPkids Berkeley

Classes meet at the Downtown Berkeley YMCA (2001 Allston Way), walking distance from UC Berkeley and one block from the Downtown Berkeley BART Station. We hold classes on Fridays at 5:00 and 6:00 and Sundays at 11:30, 12:30, 1:30. You may volunteer for one or more classes for a minimum of one semester (Fall, Spring, Summer).

SNAPkids Palo Alto

Classes meet at the Palo Alto YMCA (3412 Ross Road). We hold classes on Fridays at 4:30, 5:15, 6:00. You may volunteer for one or more classes for a minimum of two 7-week quarters (Fall, Winter, Spring). Summer classes are determined on a yearly basis.

Helpers work directly with our swimmers, encouraging, coaching, playing, making friends, and learning the next piece of the puzzle. You make SNAPkids possible and your swimmer looks forward to seeing you each week! Training and support are provided on an ongoing basis.

Volunteer with SNAPkids! Open your heart, have fun, and make a difference!

 

About us

ABOUT SNAPkids!

Since 1991, SNAP has empowered children with special needs to exercise, swim, connect with others, make friends and enjoy the gifts of childhood through a community based and accessible adapted aquatics program. SNAPkids gives children with special challenges and gifts a place for their lights to shine brightly, to be respected and included, to exercise, play and have fun! Our volunteers work one-on-one, creating unique bonds with our swimmers and developing insights and sensitivities which ultimately make our communities more accepting and inclusive.

Water is the great equalizer, welcoming and forgiving, enabling the freedom of movement with joyfulness of play. The water can help children with balance, coordination, strength, fitness, focus, communication, social skills, and confidence. Many of the children in SNAP use the water as their primary source of physical activity and exercise. SNAP is a great social outlet and creates a caring and open community for the children, families, and volunteers who participate.

Classes

CLASSES & SERVICES

UPDATE: During the COVID-19 Crisis we have suspended in-water classes. Join us for our FREE online classes (class schedule) to help keep our kids active and engaged. Complete the Registration info form and we’ll send you class details.

At SNAPkids we respect each child’s gifts and challenges and let the beauty of each swimmer shine. Discovery happens each week as children with special needs swim, play, make friends, and have fun as they gain confidence and independence. Children participate in adapted aquatic programs tailored to address their physical, developmental, and social needs. Along with individual attention, swimmers participate in group games, songs, and activities which foster communication, social and play skills, and friendships. With the help of our dedicated volunteers each swimmer receives the attention, support, and love they need to reach their potential.

SNAPkids accepts swimmers from 1 to 18 years old with a variety of special needs. Common diagnoses include cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophies, spina bifida, autism, developmental delays, and a variety of genetic conditions. Swimmers must be medically stable and safe to participate in a community based program. For our youngest children, parents may be requested to participate as well as you enjoy the benefits of playing and learning together in the water.

Each swimmer is partnered with 1-2 volunteer helpers who provide individual attention and enthusiasm and implement programs tailored to the needs of the child. Programs are developed by our director, Dori Maxon PT, MEd, a pediatric physical therapist and our most experienced volunteers, and implemented by volunteers overseen by our site manager.

Please check with us regarding class fees. SNAPkids offers a scholarship program because we feel that financial need should not be a barrier to participating.

SNAPkids Berkeley

Classes are held at the Downtown Berkeley YMCA (2001 Allston Road). We swim in warm water pools with chair lifts available. Fall and Spring sessions run for 10 weeks, and Summer session for 5 weeks. Classes are 45 minutes and meet on Fridays at 5:15, 6:15 and Sundays at 11:45, 12:45, 1:45.

SNAPkids Palo Alto

Classes are held at the Palo Alto Family YMCA (3412 Ross Road). We use the warmer instructional pool and the cooler lap pool. Our Fall, Winter, and Spring sessions run for 7 weeks, and Summer for 5 weeks TBD. Classes are 45 minutes and meet on Fridays at 4:30, 5:15, 6:00.

In-water Assessments and Consultations

Swimmers begin with in-water assessments so we can design a program that can best meet their needs. We also work with families, swim teachers, and/or therapists to design aquatic programs.

Training

We offer professional training and support to aquatic and therapy professionals and agencies that support children with special needs.

Volunteer

 

UPDATE: During the COVID-19 Crisis we have suspended in-water classes. Join us for our FREE online classes (calendar) to help keep our kids active and engaged. Complete the Volunteer form and we’ll send you class details.

VOLUNTEERS

Our swimmers need partners to swim and you make that happen! Swimming with our special swimmers may just be the highlight of your week and change you forever. The relationships built between our volunteers and swimmers are extremely special – you’ll find beauty each week, grow in ways you didn’t expect, and see the world through a new lens. We hope you will bring your new insights into your day-to-day life to help make our world a more inclusive and welcoming place. On the practical side, the skills you learn at SNAP can help in future schooling, careers, and beyond!

To volunteer you must be a good swimmer, 15 years old and up (retirees are welcome), have a playful side, be open to learning, and enjoy being with children. SNAPkids currently has two locations, Berkeley and Palo Alto.

SNAPkids Berkeley

Classes meet at the Downtown Berkeley YMCA (2001 Allston Way), walking distance from UC Berkeley and one block from the Downtown Berkeley BART Station. We hold classes on Fridays at 5:00 and 6:00 and Sundays at 11:30, 12:30, 1:30. You may volunteer for one or more classes for a minimum of one semester (Fall, Spring, Summer).

SNAPkids Palo Alto

Classes meet at the Palo Alto YMCA (3412 Ross Road). We hold classes on Fridays at 4:30, 5:15, 6:00. You may volunteer for one or more classes for a minimum of two 7-week quarters (Fall, Winter, Spring). Summer classes are determined on a yearly basis.

Helpers work directly with our swimmers, encouraging, coaching, playing, making friends, and learning the next piece of the puzzle. You make SNAPkids possible and your swimmer looks forward to seeing you each week! Training and support are provided on an ongoing basis.

Volunteer with SNAPkids! Open your heart, have fun, and make a difference!

 

SNAP has meant so much to us. It has given Rohan a way to enjoy the water guided by enthusiastic volunteers. We are so grateful!”

— Dipika, SNAPkids mom

I love that we are a family. We help each other and our friendships are built on trust. I cherish them!”

— Shanauk, SNAPkids head instructor

As a nonprofit, your kindness and generosity make it possible for us to provide unique services that enhance the quality of life for our special swimmers and create a more respectful, inclusive, and welcoming community. SNAPkids receives no government funding and to keep lessons affordable, we underwrite each lesson with the generous donations of individuals and companies. We believe that financial need should not be a barrier to participation with 33% of our swimmers receiving additional financial assistance. Your individual donations make a huge impact on our program, and we encourage you to become a donor and join our SNAPkids family.

SNAPkids is a 501(c)(3) organization so all donations are tax deductible. As part of the 2020 CARES Act, individuals who itemize can deduct 100% of their contributions on their 2020 itemized tax returns and individuals who do not itemize may deduct up to $300 in charitable contributions.

Here’s what your donation can do:

$25 Fund an online exercise class for a special child
$50 Support an online group class
$100 Fund a weekend of online classes
$250 Give a semester of specialized exercise
$500 Provide an annual scholarship for a special child
$1,000 Sponsor a full class for a month
$5,000 Make a wave and sponsor a class for a year

SNAPkids is a program built on love, giving and kindness, and the donations of caring and generous people. We gratefully acknowledge the generosity of our grant sponsors: Children’s Support League, Bridge Bio, Sundt Foundation, Autism Speaks, and Stanford Community Partnership. We also want to thank Stanford’s Kids With Dreams and UC Berkeley’s SNAPkids Club along with the Downtown Berkeley YMCA and Palo Alto Family YMCA for their partnership and support.

More ways to support SNAPkids:
Amazon Smile: https://smile.amazon.com/ch/84-2569669
Benevity (for company matches): ID #84-2569669
Stock Donations and In-Kind Services: Please contact our director.