“We found the majority of the kids that come through our program do not know how to swim. They’re petrified,” Vaughn [Lisa Vaughn, swim isntructor]said.
Vaughn is among the instructors for the Make a Splash program, a joint venture of the Boys and Girls Clubs and USA Swimming, the governing body for competitive swimming in the United States.
Make a Splash provides free or low-cost swimming lessons to inner-city minority children. The group’s goal is to reduce the drowning rate among African-Americans and Hispanics.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that nine people die from drowning in the United States every day. Among racial groups, the CDC reported, African-Americans have the most limited swimming ability.
“We see the disproportionate drownings in communities of color because generationally those parents and grandparents did not have the opportunity or access to quality swim programming,” Cruzat said [John Cruzat, diversity specialist for the group]. “As a result they didn’t pass it along to their children.”