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YMCA of Greater Charlotte
YMCA of Greater Charlotte
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Judith Crovi and Tom Poston have grown accustomed to hearing people say “your dad taught me how to swim.”

As a Y swim instructor for 45 years, their father, Joe Poston, had a simple but powerful philosophy – the kids you teach today are the kids who won't drown tomorrow.

“He was an exceptional teacher who could calm those who were terrified of the water,” recalls Judith. “Helping students replace anxiety with confidence was just part of his can-do attitude and his genuine love for seeing others succeed.”

Joe taught thousands of people to swim and, at 74, retired from the Y to care for his wife as she battled cancer. Even after Joe developed Alzheimer's disease, his passion for swimming and the Y both remained strong.

“Being in the water always brought my father such joy,” says Tom. “But even more so, he cherished the connections he made and the relationships he built during all those years at the Y. It was a place where he could just be himself.”

To honor Joe's legacy and devotion to swim instruction, Judith and Tom used their father's inheritance to set up a Y scholarship to support the cause he believed in most – drowning prevention. The $50,000 donation supports underprivileged students across six Charlotte elementary schools with swim and water safety instruction at the Y.

Although Joe died shortly after the fund was established, Judith affirms, “Dad would have been happy and proud to see children build confidence and experience personal achievement through swimming.”

Also in his honor, the Stratford Richardson and Dowd YMCAs created the Poston Service & Safety Award to recognize aquatics staff. The award, along with the family's donation, is an enduring tribute to Joe's legacy and commitment to water safety.

“Dad believed in caring for the whole person in spirit, mind and body,” says Judith. “We're proud to know that his passion for serving others in this way will live on through a new generation of Y swimmers.”