Former NYU wrestling coach Shawn Swift is working to help underprivileged communities on Long Island. Through his charity, the iLiveFit Foundation, Swift aims to provide health and fitness resources to low-income children, adults and people with disabilities.
Swift, who coached from 2009 to 2012, explained that his philosophy was that all classes of people, especially children, should have access to fitness, not just the elite.
“My inspiration comes from years of gym ownership and having to turn people away from memberships, personal training and exercise classes because of inability to pay,” Swift said.
The foundation has a few fitness programs, including the Wildcat Wrestling Club. Swift explained that his personal connections to wrestling are what led him to include a youth-wrestling program in the foundation.
In contrast to sports that require a lot of equipment to play or even practice, wrestlers only need their body and a mat to practice on.
“I always believed that the cost of supplies for a child to wrestle is nominal,” Swift said.
The organization also supports the Louisa Ann Swift Transplant chance weight-loss program. The program is named after Swift’s mother, who passed away after not being able to obtain an organ transplant.
LAST aims to promote the process of organ transplantation, as there are many cases where men and women are unable to donate their organs to a loved one because their Body Mass Index, a key indicator of one’s fitness, is too high to allow for transplant.
“Close to 20 people die a day waiting for a transplant,” Swift said. “Although my mother could not be saved, as she developed cancer right before I was going to donate, there are … people who can be saved.”
Personal training is provided for those who want to donate organs. Based on one’s income, all or a portion of the costs could be subsidized by the iLiveFit Foundation, Swift said.
Swift said there are many ways for people in the community to participate. Donations can be made via the iLiveFit website. People can also help host fitness and wrestling clinics put on by iLiveFit at partner gyms and locations.
On March 20, the foundation hosted the Spring iLiveFit Kickoff Gala at the Viana Hotel in Westbury, N.Y. Over 200 guests came to help raise awareness about the foundation’s cause, and they raised over $15,000.
iLiveFit will host another fundraising event on April 27 at Bounce Trampoline Sports in Syosset, N.Y.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, April 7 print edition. Sean Billings is a staff writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.