Wanda Butts, one of 10 vying to be CNN's 2012 Hero of the year , was raised with no exposure to swimming and in turn raised her son the same way.
In 2006, when her 16-year-old son drowned, Butts knew she didn??t want another mother to experience the pain she felt, so she started the Josh Project.
The organization, named after her son, has now taught more than 1,200 Northwest Ohio children and adults how to swim.
??I believe that swimming is a basic life skill,?? Butts said. ??The younger one can begin learning this skill, the better.??
In five years, since the program started, the project has grown and in May moved onto the UT's Scott Park Campus of Energy and Innovation in The University of Toledo Minority Business Development Center .
Now Butts has a chance to be recognized nationally for her work as CNN Hero of the Year.
With the help of supporters, Butts can win not only recognition, but also a $250,000 cash prize that could help the Josh Project.
For Butts to win she needs supporters to vote for her at from now through Wednesday, Nov. 28.
Each person can vote 10 times a day.
Every year on Dec. 9th, which is Josh??s birthday, the organization also hosts a fundraiser.
This year??s event will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Ramada Inn, 3536 Secor Road in Toledo. Tickets are $50 per person.
Bruce Wigo, executive director of the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., will be the keynote speaker.
To learn more about the Josh Project , be sure to tune in to CNN Sunday, Dec. 2, at 9 p.m. to watch ??CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute.??