Product testing open water goggles at Siesta with Rebecca Aten and Daniel Paulling.

Epic Swim Around Manhattan Raises Awareness for Charities

Through the coordination of URBANSWIM, Christopher Harris embarked on a charitable circumnavigational 28.5 mile swim around Manhattan.  The swim took place in New York on July 6, 2023 in support of three impactful charities: + POOL, Have Faith Haiti, and Worldwide Orphan Foundation.

Accompanying Chris on this remarkable endeavor are three accomplished swimmers: three-time Olympian Anthony Ervin, triple Guinness World Record Holder Jaimie Monahan as an observer, and + POOL board member Fleur Sohtz.

Originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan, Harris moved to New York City in 1993 to attend Columbia University, where he swam. Chris’ lifelong passion for swimming and his desire to make a positive impact on society has led him to take on this incredible challenge. Guerda Harris (née Marie-José Guerda Edeline), Chris’ mother, was born and raised in Haiti. Orphaned as a teenager, she built a thriving life through the generosity and support of others who provided her with opportunities and safe passage to the United States.

“With this swim, I aim to spotlight these organizations’ causes and honor my family’s connection to Haiti and my adopted home, New York,” said Harris. “I’ve had the privilege of being surrounded by incredible coaches, teammates, and mentors throughout my life. I hope to demonstrate that success is a collaborative effort, relying on the support and contributions of others. By raising awareness and supporting these charities, we can help transform the lives of those who need it most.”

“I am excited to collaborate with Chris and use our athletic platform for good, raising awareness about clean water access, orphan care, and youth development through this monumental swim,” said Anthony Ervin, Three-Time Olympian. “We believe that united, we can make a difference. Efforts like these will encourage others to take action and engage in supporting causes close to their hearts—whether it be through swimming or other forms of activism—to foster positive change in our world.”

Mitch Albom, best-selling author, and founder of Have Faith Haiti, commented, “Chris’ dedication to making a difference through this incredible challenge is truly inspiring. His commitment to helping others, particularly given his personal connection to Haiti through his mother’s story, showcases the power of perseverance and the human spirit. We are grateful for his support and eagerly anticipate the positive impact this event will have on the lives of many, especially those in Haiti who need our help the most.”

Charitable Partners:

  • + POOL is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free and safe access to New York City’srivers for swimming, ensuring everyone, regardless of income or background, can enjoy the water.  https://pluspool.org/
  • Have Faith Haiti, founded by Mitch Albom, is a nonprofit organization offering safety, nourishment, education, and opportunity for Haiti’simpoverished children and orphans, as well as stability for staff and their families in Port-au-Prince. https://havefaithhaiti.org/
  • Worldwide Orphans Foundation (WWO) aims to educate, heal, and empower children by implementing trauma-informed, play-based programs in vulnerable communities. Currently, WWO operates in Bulgaria, Ethiopia, Haiti, Ukraine, Vietnam, and the Bronx, focusing on children and families experiencing poverty, housing instability, food insecurity, natural disasters, war, and illness.https://www.wwo.org/

“Three charities, three rivers, and a 28.5-mile swim around Manhattan – what an incredible way to honor and support the important things in life. A swim like this takes dedication, commitment, and bravery. We are privileged and delighted to support Chris in his mission. When you are in the water, you become a water ambassador – Chris – we also thank you for that,” concluded Deanne Draeger, Founder, URBANSWIM.

For more information about the event and how to support these charities, visit CH23Swims.com.