Recreation and Wellness receives grant to teach more kids to swim

Swimming-pool

Bowling Green State University’s Department of Recreation and Wellness was chosen as one of 85 Make a Splash programs in the United States to receive grant money from the USA Swimming Foundation in early 2019.

The awarded money will go toward continued efforts to provide free or reduced-cost swim lessons. The foundation awarded a total of $507,461 to programs across the country that will provide swim lessons to an estimated 25,000 children.

“Receiving this grant creates an amazing opportunity to provide swim lessons to over 60 kids who have never had that opportunity,” said Chris Ballard, Recreation and Wellness assistant director. “Our program is about providing lessons, but also about teaching kids to be safe in and around the water, and I’m excited to impart swimming and safety skills to new swimmers.”

BGSU’s Learn-to-Swim program has been serving the community for 40 years, offering swim lessons for all people, age 6 months through adult, and all skill levels, from beginning to advanced, taught by fully certified American Red Cross water safety instructors. The goal is for participants to learn the fundamentals of swimming, the importance of safety and to develop a love and passion for the water.

The foundation vetted 241 applications through a competitive annual review process and chose 85 Make a Splash local partner programs to receive funding, 26 of which are first-time USA Swimming Foundation grant recipients.

The Make a Splash initiative is a national child-focused water safety campaign that aims to provide the opportunity for every child in America to learn to swim. Through Make a Splash, the 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 Make a Splash local partner learn-to-swim programs, to spread national awareness and to bring together strategic partners to end drowning.

To date, 7.5 million children have received the lifesaving gift of swim lessons through the Make a Splash Local Partner network, comprised of 1,000 qualified lesson providers across the nation.