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US Builds Strong Foundations

Oct 25, 2012

From USA Swimming:

More than 44,000 children have received swimming lessons absolutely free through the USA Swimming Foundation’s life-saving Make a Splash initiative, which exceeded $2.5M in grantmaking this year. Make a Splash is the national, child-focused water safety initiative of the USA Swimming Foundation that aims to provide the opportunity for every child in America to learn to swim.

The Foundation surpassed the $2.5m milestone after providing nearly $400,000 in grants to 50 learn-to-swim partners across the nation during the summer of 2012. The 2012 grants provided scholarships for 12,000 kids. Scholarships are good for a full session of lessons - on average eight - to help kids become safer around the water.

“We are incredibly proud to have impacted kids across the nation by teaching them how to swim,” said Debbie Hesse, Executive Director of the USA Swimming Foundation. “By providing children with this life-saving skill, we are making a profound impact.  We are truly saving lives. Our research has shown that family history is a primary indicator of whether a child will learn to swim.  When we give the gift of swimming lessons, we are not only impacting the kids who are taking lessons, but we’re impacting their children too, and their children’s children. It’s a gift that will span generations.”

 Research by the USA Swimming Foundation and University of Memphis found that there is only a 13% chance that children from non-swimming households will ever learn to swim.*

To date, more than a 1.5 million swim lessons have been conducted through the USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash Local Partner network - qualified swimming lesson providers who have teamed with the Foundation to make an impact. Make a Splash was created in 2007 in response to the fact that drowning is the second-leading cause of accidental death for youth in America, and that, on average, 10 people drown each day.

 Make a Splash works by educating parents through a national awareness campaign, and by providing opportunities for kids to learn to swim through its growing network of providers. Currently there are 555 Local Partners in 48 states. Local Partners include a variety of organizations, including YMCAs, Boys & Girls’ Clubs, community centers and privately-owned swim schools. To qualify as a Local Partner, the organizations must offer a percentage of their lessons for free or at a reduced cost, and/or provide water safety education to their community at no charge.