Hollywood mother honoring late son through swim lesson scholarships

Published: Jun. 17, 2021 at 5:45 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 6:55 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Jennifer Holmes lost her son, Genesis, seven years ago when he drowned in a pond in Hollywood.

“If Genesis had known, if he had any knowledge at all, I truly believe that Genesis would have survived in that pond on May 5,” Holmes said.

Now, she’s made it her mission to make sure that kids and adults in her community know how to swim.

Through the Charleston County Parks Foundation, the Genesis Project is offering scholarships for free swim lessons at the Genesis Pool at the West County Aquatic Center. It started last summer on a much smaller scale, and this is the first summer people of any age or ability can apply for the scholarships.

“Genesis didn’t have that chance,” Holmes said. “And so that’s why I am here. I believe God is using me to get the word out to many walks of life you know, so they can have the opportunity to learn how to swim.”

Holmes says about 80 people have already received scholarships for swim lessons this summer. The Business Development Manager for Charleston County Parks, Matt Rosebrock, says they hope to offer 50 more scholarships this summer.

“We’re trying to really change the culture here and in places that might not have community pools, which is pretty abundant throughout the Lowcountry,” Rosebrock said. “There’s not a lot of public pools that people can swim. So, the Genesis pool is a beacon in this community to let folks who may not know how to swim, swim.”

Holmes says she has since seen people in her family and the Hollywood/Ravenel community learn to swim and stay involved with the local pool.

“The joy about having them take that big step, it lets me know the Genesis Holmes lives,” Holmes said.

She has three family members who now work for the West County Aquatic Center. However, with this progress, she says she has no plans for slowing down.

“We got so much work to do, so much,” Holmes said. “So, there’s no quitting in me.”

Holmes also opened Genesis Le Bleu Waters restaurant in Ravenel a few years ago. She says being a chef and owning a restaurant was always a dream of her son Genesis.

She says she has people walk in the restaurant all the time who tell her they don’t know how to swim.

To apply for a scholarship or to donate to the fund, you can apply online here.

Parks Manager Michael Bradley says you can also come to the West County Aquatic Center and speak to a staff member there.

Jennifer Holmes lost her son, Genesis, seven years ago when he drowned in a pond in Hollywood.
Jennifer Holmes lost her son, Genesis, seven years ago when he drowned in a pond in Hollywood.(Jennifer Holmes)

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