News: Partnership aims to keep kids from drowning

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Contact: Carolyn Marinan, Communications, 612-348-5969

Partnership aims to keep kids from drowning

Hennepin County is partnering with the USA Swimming Foundation on a pilot project to connect underserved youth and communities throughout the county with swimming lessons.

Local organizations that are a part of the Make a Splash Local Partner network can apply for grants – made possible through USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash initiative and the Hennepin Youth Sports Program – to provide youth scholarships for swimming lessons and water safety education. 

According to a USA Swimming Foundation study, 70 percent of African American, 60 percent of Hispanic/Latino and more than 40 percent of Caucasians have little to no swimming ability.

“This partnership aims to save lives by teaching kids in underserved populations in our communities how to swim,” said Hennepin County Board Chair Jan Callison. “In the land of 10,000 lakes, it is important that all children know how to swim.”

Debbie Hesse, executive director of the USA Swimming Foundation, agrees.

“The swim lesson providers who make up our Make a Splash Local Partner networks are doing important work to improve the safety and quality of life for children who otherwise wouldn’t have this lifesaving opportunity,” said Hesse. “We’re excited to be working with Hennepin County in expanding their water safety and learn to swim efforts, and look forward to providing opportunities for children in Minnesota to learn to swim.”

About the Hennepin Youth Sports Program

The Hennepin Youth Sports Program awards grants for youth sports facilities, equipment and other opportunities for youth participation in Hennepin County. In July 2016, the program authorized $35,000 for the swim pilot project.

Learn more about the program.

About the USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash initiative

USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash initiative is a national child-focused water safety campaign, aiming to provide the opportunity for every child in America to learn to swim. Through Make a Splash, the USA Swimming Foundation partners with learn-to-swim providers and water safety advocates across the country to provide swimming lessons and educate children and their families on the importance of learning how to swim.

The USA Swimming Foundation has invested millions of dollars to provide grants to qualified Local Partner learn-to-swim programs, spread national awareness and bring together strategic partners to end drowning. To date, more than 4 million children have received the lifesaving gift of swim lessons through the USA Swimming Foundation Make a Splash Local Partner network, comprised of more than 800 qualified lesson providers across the nation.

Learn more about the initiative. 

Application process

Grants will be available for as much as $5,000. Applications for Hennepin County grants are due by 6 p.m. March 8. A committee will review applications and award funding March 22.   

Apply to become a Make a Splash Local Partner.

Approved partners can submit a grant application.

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