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Mark Sheppell: Water Safety Advocate and Community Cornerstone

Mark Sheppell: Water Safety Advocate and Community Cornerstone

Imagine a world where every child has the opportunity to learn lifesaving water skills. With a background in competitive swimming and a passion for water safety, Mark Sheppell has transformed the lives of thousands of Atlanta-area kids by providing top-quality swim instruction through Goldfish Swim School. But his mission doesn’t stop there. Mark’s commitment extends internationally as he travels to Belize, teaching and contributing to vital community improvements.

Tell us more about Goldfish Swim School.

Atlanta’s Goldfish Swim School currently teaches over 4,000 children a week how to swim, and over 150,000 children a week nationwide across the system. Drowning is the number one cause of accidental death for kids ages 1-4, and three children drown in the US each day. We are dedicated to lowering this statistic and teaching kids life-saving skills in a safe, fun environment.

What inspired you to start Goldfish Swim School?

I grew up swimming competitively, so I fell in love with the sport at a young age. After “retiring” from the sport, I wanted to continue to spread awareness of the importance of water safety. Choosing a meaningful career path was essential in deciding my next phase of life.

How do you balance your commitment to your career and family life?

I try to enjoy the small pleasures in life, and not “sweat the small stuff.” Also, keeping a constant interest in sports and working out has helped create a well- balanced work life.

What’s the most memorable adventure you’ve taken?

Traveling to Australia in 2018 helped me discover more about myself and face realities I was previously unaware of. The trip helped me realize that I wanted to live a life filled with new experiences that push me out of my comfort zone.

What led you to expand your water safety teachings beyond Atlanta to Gales Point, Belize?

From a young age, I’ve always enjoyed participating in various philanthropy efforts. I didn’t hesitate when I was approached with the opportunity to branch out and take our water safety efforts to Belize. I’m proud to say we’ve attended the mission trip for almost 10 years and have also made a large impact on the village infrastructure as well.

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