USA Swimming Foundation Grant to Fund Free Swimming Lessons for 4,500 Children in Five New Jersey Cities
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – 4,500 children in five New Jersey cities will take free swimming lessons this summer through grant monies allocated by the USA Swimming Foundation. The Foundation has distributed funds from a 2009 Department of Juvenile Justice grant which provided $400,000 for this purpose. The targeted cities are Asbury Park, Bayonne, Jersey City, Newark and Plainfield.
The Foundation secured the grant by working with New Jersey Congressmen Frank Pallone, Albio Sires, Donald Payne and Steve Rothman and Senators Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez. The appropriation targets inner-city school age children who may otherwise not have an opportunity to learn to swim. Drowning is the second-leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. among children, ages 1-14. In addition, a national research study conducted by the USA Swimming Foundation and University of Memphis found that 60-70% of African American and Hispanic children cannot swim.
“We are so proud to be a part of this effort to positively affect 4,500 children in New Jersey,” said Debbie Hesse, executive director of the USA Swimming Foundation. “Our goals are to save lives and build champions, and we know that teaching kids to swim can absolutely save lives. Learning to swim is not just a recreational skill, it’s a life skill, and it’s one every child should have.”
The programs target children aged approximately 7-17. USA Swimming is providing logistical guidance, administrative funding and select gear for the lessons programs.
All lessons are free and are open to residents of each city. Children are asked to complete a set of 10 lessons and pre-registration is required in all cases.
“This program is a great resource for parents in our local community who may not have the funds to enroll their children in lessons,” said David Wynn of the Plainfield Division of Parks and Recreation. “Teaching kids to swim is incredibly important and we are grateful that this grant allows us to reach 900 children right here in Plainfield. It’s our hope that we can secure local funding going forward, so that this important effort can continue, and all kids in our city can learn to be safer in and around the water.”
The effort is part of the USA Swimming Foundation’s national, child-focused water safety initiative, Make a Splash. Through its 45 local partner organizations, Make a Splash, which started in 2007, has provided more than 845,000 swimming lessons to children who may not otherwise have had the opportunity to learn. The Foundation aims to reach 1 Million children by the end of 2012. Make a Splash also focuses on raising awareness about live-saving learn-to-swim programs through its national awareness campaign. For more on Make a Splash, visit www.makeasplash.org.
For details on specific New Jersey locations, see the information below:
City of Newark, Newark NJ
Lessons available for: Over 1,000 kids
When: Mondays through Fridays, July 11-Sept. 2 from 11:30am-2:30pm
Locations: Ironbound Aquatic Center, Hayes West Pool, Rotunda Recreation Center Pool, St. Peter’s Recreation Center Pool, and the Boylan Street Recreation Center Pool.
For more information: Contact the Division of Recreation/Cultural Affairs at (973) 733-6454 or the Newark Non-Emergency Call Center at (973) 733-4311.
City of Bayonne, NJ
Lessons available for: Over 800 kids
When: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays through the summer. July session begins July 11.
Location: Bayonne Municipal Pool
For more information: Call the Municipal Pool at 201-858-6159 or contact Peter Amadeo, Supervisor of Recreation at email@example.com
City of Jersey City, NJ
Lessons available for: Over 1,500 kids
Location: 13 city pools
For more information: Call the Jersey City Department of Recreation at 201-547-5003 or http://www.cityofjerseycity.com/recreation
City of Plainfield, NJ
Lessons available for: 900 kids
When: Three days per week in July and August
For more information: Call the Division Of Parks & Recreation 908-753.3097
City of Asbury Park, NJ
Lessons available for: 250 kids
When: During day camp sessions through the fall
Location: Boys and Girls Club of Monmouth County in Asbury Park
For more information: Call 732.775.7862