To inspire, teach and provide community programs that reflect God’s love and purpose.
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” – 1 Peter 4:10
First mission trip to the Appalachian Mountains to help other ministries serving the Appalachian people.
Straight Forward Ministries, Inc., (SFM) became a 501 (c)(3) organization and took a second mission trip to the Appalachian Mountains taking shoes and clothing to the under privileged.
Clermont, FL had its first Water Safety Day at the National Training Center.
Second annual Water Safety Day in Clermont and Leesburg. Lake County Board of County Commissioners declares the Month of May as Water Safety month.
- SFM appoints two new board members
- June 2013 SFM adds Swimming for Life as a DBA
Third annual Water Safety Day in six Lake County cities. Two new members were added to the Board of Directors.
- Planning and vision begins
- Meetings with County Commissioners and City Council members to discuss drowning prevention education in the communities
- Research grants and apply
- Attended public events to actively reach out to community members and talk about drowning prevention
- Introduced water safety education into the Lake County public school system at the VPK level.
- Swimming for Life awarded 88 swim scholarships to impoverished families, families that adopt/foster and to children with special needs.
Fourth annual Water Safety Day in 6 Lake County cities.
- Kids Central funds $5,000 for the Learning to Swim Program
- Water Safety Kid’s Day was created to teach water safety in schools.
- Water Safety Parent’s Meetings were created to speak to parents about water safety around the home; teaching them to be Water Watchers; and to talk about drowning.
- LC Commissioners appoint a Water Safety Advisory Council, Ginny is appointed to the council
- LC Children’s Services Council awards SFL a grant for $14, 611.00 to fund 163 impoverished children Learning to Swim lessons.
- 351 kids (ages 6-14) receive Learning to Swim scholarships.
Fifth Annual Water Safety Day in 5 Lake County cities
- SFL receives $20,000 grant from United Way Lake and Sumter Counties to fund swim scholarships to children in Lake County.
- SFL receives $10,000 funding from Kid’s Central Inc., to fund swim scholarships to children in Lake, Sumter, Citrus, Marion and Hernando counties.
- Partnerships created with eleven public and private swim facilities and private swim instructors in Lake County. Partnerships created in Marion and Citrus counties as well.
- Swimming for life awarded 672 swimming scholarships in Lake, Marion and Citrus counties.
Board Of Directors
Sea Star Swim Academy
Nick, a certified Red Cross water safety instructor, is the founder of Sea Star Swim Academy, a private lesson swim school in Orange county near downtown Orlando. Nick’s behavioral experience comes from his time training dolphins, whales, sea lions and many other aquatic animals at SeaWorld, Discovery Cove and the Florida aquarium. His lifetime around the water and his professional experience are the drivers of his belief that people of all ages should be equipped with the necessary skills to enjoy swimming and play in the water in the safest way possible.Learn More
Visit his webpage at www.SeaStarswimAcaedmy.com to learn more.
Red Cross Water Safety Instructor
Angie is a certified Red Cross Water Safety instructor that offers a unique skill set that focuses on safety and utilizes her greater than 10 years of behavioral training experience. Spending time in and around the water has always been an important part of her life and is something she wants to share with everyone.
Angie grew up living on a lake in Minnesota and swam competitively for over 8 years. Additionally, she spent 4 years competing in synchronized swimming. Angie’s behavioral experience comes from her time training dolphins at SeaWorld and Discovery Cove.Learn More
Angie is happy to share her pool, which is set up perfectly to teach anyone in a comfortable, clean, private setting. The pool is a heated UV/Ozone system so your eyes will not burn and the soft water is easy on skin and hair. Her approach uses gentle, effective, fun approximations that build confidence and give swimmers the knowledge of how to safely swim in and exit the water. Parents are expected to stay engaged during the lesson to assist in encouraging and motivating students. Whether you are a 6 month old or a 30 year old, Angie has the skills and patience to help achieve your goals!
Ginny Vickers Harrison
Swimming For Life
Ginny Vickers Harrison is a swim instructor and water safety specialist. She has taught swimming and water safety most of her life. Her passion is to create a world without drowning. Ginny envisions accomplishing this by teaching both the young, and the young at heart, safe water practices as well as how to swim.
Currently, she is busy serving as a member of the Lake County Water Safety Task Force. Ginny is the owner and operator of the Swimming for Life Swim School. She and her husband, Jim, were instrumental in obtaining a proclamation for Lake County designating the month of May as Water Safety Month.Learn More
She is a certified American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor with over forty years of experience as a swim instructor. She currently holds certifications in First Aid and CPR. In April 2014 Ginny was awarded the Hidden Hero of Public Health Award for her endless work to bring drowning awareness and water safety education to the residents of Lake County during 2013. Ginny believes drowning is preventable and her goal is to make this a reality in Lake County and beyond.
Jim Harrison was honorably discharged from the United States Army in 1964. He recently retired as a General Contractor after 44 years in the Construction Industry. His work included both residential and commercial. He is a lay chaplain with the International Federation of Chaplains and Human Rights, A Certified Temperament Counselor and member of the National Christian Counseling Association. He has served on the Board for Bread of Life Ministry and has been involved with numerous mission trips to Trinidad, Honduras, Venezuela and most recently to the Appalachian Area. Jim and his wife Ginny founded Straight Forward Ministries, Inc. in 2011. Their passion for Water Safety Education and a desire to give people a hand up has been, and continues to be, the driving force behind the ministry. Straight Forward Ministries now has a vision to make swimming lessons available to everyone through the cooperative effort of local communities, businesses and governmental departments. Jim has an insatiable love for the Lord and his fellowman. As a result, he enjoys sharing God’s love with those he comes into contact with. He has dedicated his retirement years to expanding the reach of Straight Forward Ministries as a conduit for giving those in need a hand up.
Florida Department of Children & Families
Joelle Aboytes is the Circuit 5 Community Development Administrator for the Florida Department of Children & Families. Joelle is an attorney who received her JD/MBA from Stetson University College of Law. She previously served as an attorney for Children’s Legal Services – Department of Children & Families for eight years. She has a passion for serving children and families and developing relationships and collaborating with agency partners to bring about positive changes in the community.
Dr. Odett Stanley-Brown
Odett is a Pediatrician and has been practicing in Florida for the past 24 years, and she is passionate about the health, safety and well-being of all children and their families. Central Florida has been her home for the past 15 years, and she lives in Lake County with her husband of 28 years – they have 4 children. She was born in Jamaica and moved to New York at 16years old to attend Hunter College. When they graduated from Yale Medical School, she and her husband came to Florida and completed their residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. Nemours Children’s Primary Care, Clermont is her current professional home. She has fallen in love with the rolling hills and beautiful vistas in Clermont.Reading, traveling and staying fit and healthy number among her hobbies, and she hopes to see much more of the world over the next few years.