Dear Chris and Matt,
Swimming is big at the Boys & Girls Club of Paterson and Passaic, New Jersey. Our aquatics program provides recreation and an excellent form of exercise, and Club staff members teach inner city children an important life skill. In ethnically diverse communities, the youth drowning rate is 2-3 times higher than the national average. Clearly, learning how to swim at the Club is not only a fun and healthy activity, but it helps reduce drowning among African-American and Latino youth.
Studies indicate that parental influence is the major contributing factor to children's ability or inability to swim. According to research, nearly 60% of African-American and Latino children are unable to swim. The key indicator in the study was not race, but family. Children from households where parents do not swim or are at-risk swimmers are 8 times as likely to be at-risk of drowning. For this reason, the Club encourages adult swim lessons and offers family swim sessions.
Swimming is one of the great joys of childhood. In Paterson and Passaic, however, there are far too few opportunities for safe, supervised water recreation. That's why the Boys and Girls Club has continued its commitment to providing year-round aquatics programs - including swim lessons, competitive swim teams, and lifeguard training.
Drowning is 100% preventable and, thanks to a generous donation of swim suits from Goggles for Guppies, more children - and their families - will learn how to swim.
Thank you for all you have done for the Boys and Girls Club of Paterson and Passaic!