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Edison High student uses his passion for swimming to raise funds for underprivileged kids

Finn Ryder

Finn Ryder, 16, left, his brothers Liam, 14, right, and Colin, 13, center, work on filling backpacks with school supplies that will be donated to local children.

(Kevin Chang / Huntington Beach Independent)

A Huntington Beach teen raised more than $4,500 to purchase backpacks and school supplies for underprivileged kids by teaching tots how to swim.

Edison High School student Finn Ryder, 16, became inspired to do the effort after hurting his shoulder and being unable to compete on Edison’s water polo team last season.

Finn, who is entering his junior year and is involved with school community service programs like Key Club and Best Buddies, wanted to give back to the community, so he decided to offer swimming lessons in his family’s pool during the summer.

Finn Ryder

Finn Ryder of Huntington Beach, an Edison High School student, gave swimming lessons this summer that were used to help local children get school supplies.

(Kevin Chang / Huntington Beach Independent)
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He dubbed the program Swimming for School Supplies.

“I figured since I love swimming, I love the ocean and I love water polo, why not try to incorporate something with the water and community service?” Finn said.

Some of the supplies came directly from his swimming students’ families. Others donated money, which Finn then used to buy supplies.

A portion of the funds came in honor of Finn’s grandmother who died in May, said Megan Ryder, Finn’s mother.

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“His grandma was really excited for this,” she said. “A lot of people were asking what they could do in her honor, so we told them about Swimming for School Supplies.”

Finn Ryder

Finn Ryder, 16, gave swimming lessons in his backyard to children this summer and used the lessons to help get local children school supplies.

(Kevin Chang / Huntington Beach Independent)

Finn taught eight Huntington Beach children, who were between 3 and 5.

He also worked with nonprofits like Project Hope Alliance, StandUp for Kids and Thomas House Family Shelter to donate the backpacks stuffed with supplies like pens, pencils and USB flash drives. They’ll be given to 118 elementary, middle school and high school students.

Megan Ryder said she hopes this is a tradition Finn and his two younger brothers can carry on for years to come.

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Brittany Woolsey, brittany.woolsey@latimes.com

Twitter: @BrittanyWoolsey

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