Making a Big Difference in the Lives of Many Children - July 2024

With your donations and the tireless work of many volunteers more than 75 Lowell Kids got swimming lessons (look at the faces of these kids 🙂 )

A member of the Massachusetts State Police Dive Team smiles as he watches two youth practice swimming at the Raymond Lord Memorial Swimming Pool in Lowell on Thursday, July 18. (Courtesy Lowell Police Department)

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LOWELL — Superintendent Greg Hudon is pleased to report that the Lowell Police Department, the Officer Sean A. Collier Memorial Fund, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and Massachusetts State Police collaborated to provide free swimming lessons to about 75 Lowell youth.

This is the third year that free swimming lessons have been offered to youth ages 6 to 16 at DCR’s Raymond Lord Memorial Swimming Pool. This year, the state police Dive Team joined Lowell Police and Collier Fund volunteers and DCR lifeguards to provide the lessons. The lessons were provided in three sessions of 25 students

Youth are partnered with volunteer swim instructors and taught to be cautious but comfortable in the water, as well as how to float, swim, and play safely in pools. The program aims to reduce tragic drownings and increase water safety.

The Collier Fund pays for the majority of the swimming program in honor of Worcester Police Officer Enmanuel "Manny" Familia, who drowned on June 4, 2021, while trying to save three young children who were struggling in a lake.

The partnership is part of DCR’s commitment to enhancing water safety at the state’s pools this summer.

"We are thrilled to partner with the Collier Fund, state police and DCR to help prevent tragic drownings by teaching kids to swim," said Superintendent Hudon. "I'd like to thank all of our partners who have made this program possible. Each child who learns how to swim lessens the chances that the city will experience another tragic drowning."

Colleen Crosby, of Lowell, said she heard about the program via the Lowell School Department and the Lowell Police website and signed up her 6 and 10 year-old grandkids. "They don't know how to swim and I wanted them to be able to be safe," Crosby said. "This is great. It's a really good program."

Koren Quesada, of Lowell, signed up his 6-year-old son after hearing about several tragic drownings and said he thinks it's important that authority figures like police are providing such a service. "I find it good that the police department is involved in getting the kids familiar with the water and the cops," he said. "It lets them know they're not bad people. They're really good and they do try to help out the community when they can."

"I have a 13-year-old daughter with autism and it's her second year here," said Ashley Bell, of Lowell. "Last year she picked up so much in just two weeks. The amount she's able to learn in a two-week period is amazing."

Joe Rogers, the director of the Officier Sean Collier Memorial Fund said, "We are delighted that so many kids are benefiting from the 3rd year of this swimming program.  Hopefully this program will be expanded into other communities."

A member of the Massachusetts State Police Dive Team helps a girl as she learns to swim in the Raymond Lord Memorial Pool in Lowell. This was the first year that Dive Team members participated in the program. (Courtesy Lowell Police Department)
Lowell Police Officer Christine Larocque, center in the pool, speaks to students before they start free swimming lessons at the Raymond Lord Memorial Pool in Lowell. At right are lifeguards from the Department of Conservation and Recreation who also assisted. (Courtesy Lowell Police Department)




(According to In 2021, 58 unintentional drowning deaths occurred in Massachusetts and 113 non-fatal near-drowning cases required treatment at an acute care hospital.) 


Lowell Police Officer Christine Larocque (pictured in the pool) is one of the swim instructors helping these lucky kids.




Make sure to check out all the events we have established and hosted over the past 5 years to raise funds for the children.

The Officer Sean A. Collier Memorial Fund was established to honor the memory of Sean A. Collier who was Killed In the Line of Duty by the Boston Marathon Bombers on April 18, 2013.

Memorial Fund Background

On April 15, 2013, two explosives went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and wounding 264 people. The three killed by the explosions were 29-year-old Krystle Campbell, 8-year-old Martin Richard and 23-year-old Lingzi Lu.

Three days later, on April 18, 2013, at approximately 10:30 pm, Patrol Officer Collier was shot and killed by the two suspects wanted for the terrorist bomb attack during the Boston Marathon. Officer Collier was ambushed and shot multiple times by the suspects while seated in his patrol car on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Officer Collier was transported to the hospital where he died.

The bombing suspects were tracked to Watertown, MA were there was a shootout with law enforcement officers. One of the suspects was killed and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Police Officer Richard H. Donohue Jr. (a Police Academy classmate of Sean’s) was critically wounded but survived. Boston Police Department officer Dennis Simmonds was injured by an explosive device and he died of this injuries almost a year later on April 10, 2014. Eight other officers were also injured in the shootout with law enforcement officers.
The second suspect was apprehended the following day, tried and by unanimous decision sentenced to death on May 15, 2015.

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