Mimi Conner is a passionate swim teacher and full-time volunteer at Lovepacs, a non-profit organization in Plano that aids children dealing with food insecurity. She has a family she loves, including three grandchildren, and has lived in Plano for more than 30 years. Mimi says she finds deep fulfillment in her work both at Lovepacs Plano and Swimmers by Mimi.
What is Lovepacs Plano?
Lovepacs is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, born out of a desire to help children with food insecurity. The organization provides breakfast, lunch and snacks to our students who would otherwise go hungry during days and holidays away from their food source – our schools.
Food insecurity in Texas is a very real thing. One in four children live in food-insecure homes. It’s important that our community work together to find ways to help our community rise above this and help reduce the number of [people] living with food insecurity.
How did you get involved with the organization, eventually becoming Chapter Lead?
I began in October 2018. Sarah Morris, founder of This Side UP! Family, asked me to attend an informal gathering about Lovepacs. I attended and was truthfully taken aback at the need in the North Texas area. Having three daughters go through our school system, I know the value of nutrition and the importance of not going to school on an empty stomach or coming home to empty cupboards.
I work directly with the principals, counselors and social workers to properly identify children who may need our assistance. My team and I host food drives, fundraisers and community education. I oversee the day-to-day operations of our pantry as well as marketing of current needs and events.
Why is swimming education also very important to you?
As my mother used to say, I was born a fish out of water. Because I was taught at a very young age, I believe that everyone should also have that opportunity.
Every drowning is preventable. I had seen as a young lifeguard how quickly it can happen, and how the chances increase when a parent does not watch their children in and around the pool. If I have saved one child or adult from drowning, I have done well.
I am on the Children’s Health Drowning Prevention Coalition: Know Before You Go Team that helps to spread the word and educate the community on Drowning Prevention.
How did you begin offering swim lessons?
My parents were advocates of having jobs to build character, build your resumé and earn money for things we wanted not in the family budget. I wanted to earn my own money and because I loved the water, lifeguarding and teaching swimming lessons was the perfect fit.
Real life stepped in and I had to decide on a career, so I left it for many years until I came to Plano and wanted to earn some extra money. I got recertified and began working for the City of Plano in 1990 where I taught aquatic fitness and swimming lessons. I started Swimmers by Mimi in 1991, and still to this day I teach from my warm, saltwater backyard pool.
In 2008, I founded Aqua-Fit. We offer the community the best in aquatic fitness, swimming lessons for able-bodied and special-needs children and adults. I am no longer working there but am a mentor to Jason Rowan, the new owner.
What do you love most about living here?
My daughters were raised and educated here. I work and own a business, worship, shop and eat here. I guess you can say that I am Plano! The Plano community is filled with good, loving and caring people. The support I have received for Lovepacs is overwhelming. I love Plano and don’t plan on leaving any time soon.