‘Splash’ Group Helps Kids of Color Learn to Swim

Judy Fortin, CNN, May 26, 2008

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“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.

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“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.”

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