Karen is AquAbility’s Founder and Executive Director. Her days are filled with the business of AquAbility, grant writing, staff organization, and hands-on pool time. Karen trains and oversees staff and teaches courses and seminars around the country and internationally. She works with participants in the pool 3-4 days a week in Boise and Eagle and travels to oversee AquAbility programs in Ketchum and to the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind program at Miracle Hot Springs in Buhl. Karen created a certification course for Therapeutic Aquatics for People with Disabilities and is a course provider for Aquatic Therapy and Research Institute. Karen is dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities through Therapeutic Aquatics.
Lanette began volunteering in 2012 in the Boise AquAbility Program and is now on staff as a substitute. Lanette and her husband Doug were introduced to Aquablity by longtime participant Jet Turner after Doug was disabled. Lanette loved the program right away and looks forward to many more years with AquAbility.
Kim started volunteering with AquAbility in October 2015 and has been on staff since March 2016. Kim loves the water and has been involved in aquatics—lifeguarding, teaching swimming lessons, swimming competitively in college and coaching Special Olympics. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Education with a major in Special Ed and a minor in Adapted PE from Central Michigan University. Kim currently works at Meridian High School in the Special Ed Dept. and volunteers with Boise Parks and Recreation’s Adventure program for people with disabilities. She finds joy in seeing her students gain self confidence in the water and celebrates every little victory.
Katie has been committed to helping people connect with their bodies in a meaningful way since becoming a Pilates instructor in 2008. Alongside Pilates, Katie performed as an aerial artist with a troupe in Mexico for several years before moving to Berlin, Germany to attend a performance college. Life took a sharp turn when a family crisis brought her permanently back to the US, and then to Idaho. When Katie found AquAbility as a Boise State University Kinesiology student in September of 2015, she was instantly drawn to it. Her cousin, Larissa, had severe cerebral palsy and was Katie’s first experience with people with disabilities. In elementary school, she practiced for and obtained a “wheelchair license”, which allowed her to assist with transporting students from the special needs classroom. Since graduating in May of 2016, Katie has been working as AquAbility’s Program Administrator. She loves to be behind the scenes talking with families and getting participants registered as much connecting with them in the water.
Olivia worked as a lifeguard at Boise State Recreation Aquatic Center and for three years she watched the AquAbility program improve the lives of their participants. As a Kinesiology student at Boise State University, she needed to choose a Service Learning program and knew immediately with whom to sign up with. Olivia has taught American Red Cross swim lessons since 2012 and feels very comfortable in aquatic environments. In addition to teaching swim lessons, she continues to teach Water Aerobics, Lifeguarding, CPR and First Aid classes. She has been with AquAbility since January of 2016, and is grateful for the opportunity to change lives of all ages working with AquAbility therapeutic adaptive programs.
Jenn Childers found her passion for working with kids with special needs after a good friend introduced her to the Buddy Walk. She went on to adopt a teenager with special needs from China and heard about AquAbility through her friend. Jenn was overcome with passion for the program and needed to be involved. She especially loves connecting with each child in the moment, and being present with them to help them achieve independence in the water. Jenn has a Bachelors degree in Human Development with an emphasis in counseling from Hope International University in Southern California. She had a short stint in the LAPD as a Peace Officer before she began to teach group fitness classes including Aqua aerobics, Pilates, Yoga, Cycle and Older Adult Fitness. Jenn hopes to be a consistent presence with AquAbility, bringing fun, joy and hope to kids and families.
Conor Mooney is a Kinesiology student at Boise State University studying to become a prosthetist and orthotist. As part of one of his classes Conor chose to do service learning with AquAbility. Conor fell in love with the program and moved from doing his service learning to being a staff member. Conor loves the water and in addition to Aquability likes to play water polo and swim. Conor started with AquAbility in September of 2017.
Missy Russell is an Elementary Education and Early Childhood trained teacher with her Water Safety Instructor certification. She has also trained in deep and shallow water Hydrofit. She enjoys water sports such as white water rafting, snorkeling, scuba diving, hydrofit classes and swimming. She has taken a special interest in working in Special Education classes as a substitute teacher in the Wood River area for the past four years. She is currently working as an assistant teacher in a pre-k classroom, guest teaching and teaching swimming. She is a former pre-k, 2nd grade, swimming teacher and Summer camp director. She is particularly interested and trained in helping students with Autism and other spectrum disorders and feels that time, patience, and understanding go a long way. Missy looks forward with enthusiasm to helping participants hone their swimming skills to achieve water safety, fitness and enjoyment. Missy began working with the AquAbility in Ketchum at Zenergy in November 2017.