News & Success Stories

Recognized Partners across San Diego County are the driving force behind the strength, reach and impact of the Live Well San Diego vision. Read their inspiring success stories below.

Swimming Upstream Program Helps Young Women Navigate Rough Waters of Teen Life

Post Date:05/09/2023 12:58 PM

May News Uplift Teen Program 3x1


By Victoria Dumon, Programs Director, Uplift San Diego 


In 2006, UPLIFT San Diego noticed that the students who enrolled in their after-school tutoring program year after year, eventually became disengaged. It was important to find out why and to develop a program that could better benefit youth and keep low-income adolescents engaged in after-school activities.  

UPLIFT San Diego recognized there was a need for a youth mentorship program for adolescent girls and created the Swimming Upstream program.  

Swimming Upstream is designed to help young women navigate the rough waters of teen life through inspirational empowerment and life skills sessions over 4 weeks. Participants practice healthy coping skills and conceptualize their future goals, while involving family and friends in fun activities. 

During the program each student is paired with a mentor that walks the student through each of the program activities and helps them process how the information they learn can be applied to their current situation. The Swimming Upstream program has presenters from CRU, Mind Treasures, and two Live Well San Diego Recognized Partners STAR/PAL and San Diego City College. The presentations are designed to focus on each student’s talents and resources as positive protective factors against risky behaviors, as well as to reduce the stigma around mental and emotional health.  

Since program launch over 15 years ago, program participants have achieved a 100% High School Graduation rate! 

This year, UPLIFT San Diego partnered with Bell Middle School to deliver the 4-week after school curriculum to 10 adolescent girls. Administrators and school counselors at Bell Middle School were so supportive of the program that some staff signed up their own children to participate in the program. 

All students reported learning something new at every session and that their mentor was extremely helpful.  

“I loved week 3 because I got to build things with my mentor and best friend.” – Student Participant 

“The Swimming Upstream program was honestly really helpful in my opinion.” – Student Participant 

After the success of the Swimming Upstream Program at Bell Middle School, UPLIFT San Diego has secured an agreement with the San Diego Unified School District to expand this curriculum to other schools and age groups.  

You can join the Swimming Upstream interest list by visiting:  

Learn more about how you can make a significant difference in lifting young adults above social justice & racial equity issues by visiting:  

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