Joey Pizzano Memorial Fund program Splash pairs volunteers with special needs kids

Kate Wiberg and Ben Shue at the Splash program. (Photo: WJLA)

Ben Shue, 12, eagerly awaits his time in the pool at providence rec center every week. And at his side, you'll find 17-year-old Kate Wiberg.

Wiberg is a volunteer for the Joey Pizzano Memorial Fund's program called Splash. It pairs volunteers with kids with special needs to teach water safety.

“We work with kids with disabilities - not to teach them to swim, but to get them comfortable in the water,” Wiberg says.

Wiberg has worked one-on-one with Ben since last summer. She says when she got to know Ben in the pool, she discovered he’s a great swimmer. He says his favorite thing to do is freestyle.

Ben’s father says Wiberg stands out for her patience and ongoing support of the program and his son.

“He talks about her all the time and how much fun he has, how much fun he has swimming with her and learning with her,” says Chris Shue, Ben’s father.

And though still in high school, Wiberg says she has found her calling.

“I've been working to try and find a way to get involved in more of these programs so maybe one day I could have enough experience to get some kind of job and pursue a career,” she says.

And Ben agrees she's found her calling.

“I like Kate so much because she's my buddy all the time ,” Ben says.