Scout’s Initiative Makes a Splash
By Torie Hamilton, Special to the Independent
Several residents of the Glennwood House of Laguna Beach are preparing to swim in the Special Olympics and their training was inadvertently made possible by Daniela Lucidi, who graduated from Laguna Beach High School this week.
Daniela recently received the prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award for her involvement with Glennwood’s residents, who are disabled young adults. She ran a monthly swimming program for them at the Laguna Niguel YMCA where she and her water polo teammates from the high school spent up to 90 minutes a week at the pool teaching and demonstrating swim technique.
Through the program, more residents have been inspired to participate in the Special Olympics and Daniela made it her goal to help them realize their aim. The games start July 25 in Los Angeles.
“With my project, I want to show the community of Laguna Beach how the disabled are able to conquer anything they set their mind to,” says Daniela.
After spending numerous hours with Glennwood House residents, Daniela has undergone her own transformation. Her passion for serving this community has grown. “They’re such caring people. They see you as their best friend even though they met you just minutes ago,” she says.
Daniela will continue in a path that aligns with her compassion for the special needs community by attending California State University, Long Beach and majoring in psychology or education in order to eventually become a special needs teacher or a school psychologist. She will also be playing water polo.
The swimming club program she helped establish at Glennwood House will continue on in her absence with a successor, as sustainability is one the requirements of a Gold Scout Award.
“It’s nice for the Glennwood home to be there so that this type of population can feel more at home with their surrounding community. It’s a safe haven,” Daniela says.
And residents benefit from involvement by local high school students such as Daniela, says Sasha Garrett, Glennwood’s executive director. “Being with kids from high school is a good thing. A lot of our residents are high functioning and they want to be normal,” says Garrett. “They get to make friends because they already have a challenge—just being different. Being able to feel like everybody else, to not feel like they’re different, that makes a huge difference.”
Indy intern Torie Hamilton attends Biola University.
Photo: Daniela Lucidi attains scouting’s highest award.
Daniela Lucidi, left, conducts swim lessons with Glennwood residents and a waterpolo teammate, Mia Salvini, second from right.