Great Opportunities (GO), a 501c3 non-profit, was founded to expose under-served and at-risk youths to the opportunities of outdoor recreation, as a means to enrich their lives and introduce them to environmental practices and recreational activities in an aquatic environment. GO has continued and expanded upon that concept, since its founding in 2002. Over 3000 youth, ages 4-18, have opened the door of “possibilities” through GO’s programs. Participating youth expand their knowledge of, competence in, and exposure to aquatic environment experiences, and are empowered to develop leadership and problem-solving skills that integrate the importance of community service, through its 3 interlocking core programs:
- Learn to Swim
- Beach Awareness
- GO2 Bike Program
All programs are offered free of charge, and are currently and specifically targeted to serve San Juan Capistrano’s geographically identified gang inductions zones, where its youth are considered “at-risk” of being exposed to and/or enticed into gang or nefarious activity. GO has aspirations of expanding their program(s) to the South Orange County Tri-City area to include the municipalities of Dana Point and San Clemente, and its youth who are identified as “at-risk”.
What makes GO unique is that each program/event is essentially “youth-led”, with guidance given to enable the youth(s) to be successful. Here at GO, we believe that if we teach a child to swim, ride and maintain a bike, as well as how to access/employ public transportation, we open the door to the aquatic world, as well as numerous other opportunities in their community, and ultimately beyond.
GO works closely with the City of San Juan Capistrano, the Orange County DA GRIP (Gang Reduction & Intervention Partnership) Program, the Capistrano School District, and other community entities, and private companies, to achieve their goal of competent swimmers, aquatic safety and environmental awareness, that in turn builds and empowers the youth who participate to expand upon their opportunities to grow and create a future as independent, successful, and responsible adults.
Additional projects in the works at Great Opportunities include:
- Creating events to build Financial Literacy
- Supporting the San Juan Capistrano Skate Park Coalition in the approved construction of a Skate Park in San Juan Capistrano