Join me in the water

U.S. Department of State

Eliza Eliasz teaches kiteboarding and snowboarding in her native Poland.

Hello! My name is Eliza Eliasz. I am from Poland and representing Polish Foundation of Sport and Culture. I am honored to be participant in Global Sports Mentoring Program and being mentored by wonderful woman, NHL senior vice president of integrated marketing Susan Cohig.

Board sports such as snowboarding, wakeboarding, kite boarding and longboarding are my passion, and I love them! During the summer I am a kite boarding instructor and during the winter I teach snowboarding. This season I also took part in wakeboarding competitions -- with some success.

My aim is to encourage girls to try and have fun from board sports, just like the boys. So if there is any girl or woman who thinks that she cannot do board sports, believe me, YOU CAN DO IT!

To try any water sport you need to feel comfortable in the water and know how to swim. One part of my action plan is to develop and implement the free lessons swimming program for socially excluded children in my community.

This year in Poland, 433 cases of drowning were reported. Most reasons for drowning were carelessness and lack of swimming skills. According to the World Health Organization, drowning is the third-leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide. For me, water means only good experiences, and I wish it could be the same for children in my community. If we teach them how to swim they will be safer in the water and can enjoy going to the beach.

While teaching children how to swim, we should also remember to teach how them how to behave around the water so they can learn that water is a powerful element and can be dangerous. Swimming classes are also a great medium to teach eco-friendly behaviors. In terms of respecting nature, children may be more likely to save water and not litter nature, so they can substantially feel the joy it brings.

If you are mom or dad, please give your child the opportunity to learn how to swim because this skill brings not only an ability to have fun in water, but also can be a lifesaving factor. If you are adult and cannot swim, don't worry. There are swimming classes for adults, make a step and find one near you!