Low Income Swim Program
One of the distinguishing features of Elgin is the Fox River, which provides a large part of its identity. To many residents it is seen as a great asset, but to the parents of children who cannot swim it is seen as a threat and they do everything they can to keep their children away from it. Their fears also lead them to discourage their children from visiting the pools during the heat of the summer and enjoying the indoor pools at The Centre year around. To address these issues the Elgin Parks and Recreation Foundation and The Housing Authority of Elgin (HAE) are looking for a partner to help them offer free swim lessons to children that reside in the 105 family low income housing units managed by HAE.
Fear of water is especially true in minority households, both in Elgin and across the country. A recent study commissioned by USA Swimming and conducted by the University of Memphis exposes some alarming statistics for many of our nation’s children. The Constraints Impacting Minority Swimming Participation study found that nearly 70% of African American children and 58% of Hispanic children have low or no swim ability, putting them at risk for drowning. This compares to 40% of Caucasian children. According to the study, parental fear is also a major contributor to a child’s lack of swimming ability. This fear stops the entire family from enjoying the Fox River, as well as swimming as a healthy recreational activity or escape from the temperatures of a hot summer day.
Anticipated outcomes – approximately 50 children will learn to swim that otherwise may never learn to swim. This skill could one day save them from drowning. It will also enable them to enjoy the recreational and health benefits associated with swimming. For many of us there is no better summer time activity than going to the local pool on a hot day. The ability to swim will also allow them to live a more active lifestyle, thereby reducing the likelihood that they will become overweight or obese.
To start this program we are looking for a community partner that is willing to sponsor 50 children in swim lessons at a total expense of $2,550. The families, all of which reside in low income HAE apartments, will be provided with a voucher that they will be able to use to sign up for the swim lessons either during the summer or fall of 2014.
Recognition in the Elgin Parks and Recreation quarterly program brochure (7,000 copies hand distributed every 3 months; on line version received over 4,000 views per month).
Recognition on the Elgin Parks and Recreation website, which averages over 2,000 hits per month.
Recognition in the Housing Authority of Elgin’s website and in their monthly newsletter.
Most importantly, the knowledge that you are making a difference in the lives of those children in Elgin that need the most help and can benefit most from this program.