Scott Breslow is a young man dedicated to serving others and making a positive impact in the lives of those he comes in contact with.
Scott is a 16 year-old high school student who has worked as a non-paid volunteer at the YWCA’s “Special Swim” program in Ridgewood NJ, serving youth and adults with special needs. He has served in this capacity for the past 5 years and his volunteer service and is an ongoing commitment.
Scott is not just a “swimming teacher”; his service meets a true community need. Often those with special needs, most especially young children, are isolated from the community and this isolation negatively impacts their growth and development. Scott’s intelligence, warmth and good humor allow him to connect with and reach the children at their level; he is a true “buddy” to his students. In this way he can teach them not only how to swim, but how to exercise their minds and their muscles, and most importantly, how to interact and socialize with others.
The impact from these activities is very obvious. The children have become more engaged with their instructors and peers across settings. This facilitates their learning in the classroom as well as their interactions in the community. Some of children who started out needing one-on-one assistance grew under his guidance to become independent swimmers.
Scott has also taken his involvement in these activities and used it to educate the larger community about those with special needs and how best to work, serve, and interact with them, by incorporating their daily lives into his own when possible. He will often take time both before and after the program to spend time with his students and others in the program, share a snack with them and to talk with the teens about contemporary music and movies, treating them as equal peers. His ongoing dedication to the education and inclusion of this population has served as an example and has resulted in other young people joining the Special Swim program as volunteers.
Scott’s work and dedication to these children make him a true gem to the community; he enables his students to reach their potential and sets the example of how we should all conduct ourselves towards our fellow “Man” in this world. Scott has impacted not only the children he teachers but their families also. He is a shining example of a servant leader and a great role model for other youth.