In a combined effort to make more children water-safe, five-time Olympic gold medalist and world record holder Missy Franklin has partnered with prominent aquatics organizations to create a scholarship program to offer swim lessons.
The USA Swimming Foundation and SafeSplash Brands, franchisor of warm water learn-to-swim schools throughout North America, have partnered to create Ripples to Waves. The program aims to provide more than 2,500 kids of all ages from across the country with support from the participating organizations, as well as donations from their customers and corporate partners.
To take advantage of the program, parents can apply for tuition assistance at their nearest SafeSplash Swim School. Lessons are set to begin at SafeSplash and Swimtastic locations across the U.S. in the first quarter of 2017.
SafeSplash Swim School has more than 92 locations in the U.S., with 122 throughout North America. Each uses a proprietary curriculum to teach swimming and water safety to children and adults.
According to research by the USA Swimming Foundation and University of Memphis, more than 42 million U.S. children don’t know how to swim. These numbers are highest among minorities, with 70 percent of African-Americans and 60 percent of Hispanics/Latinos having little to no swimming ability. Based on statistics that one in five children receive food stamps, the USA Swimming Foundation estimates that more than 8 million kids who can’t swim also can’t afford to take lessons. The Ripples to Waves program was designed to help bridge the income gap and allow interested children access to swim lessons.
Franklin, a USA Swimming Foundation Ambassador, will serve as an equity partner and board member in Ripples to Waves, in addition to helping SafeSplash grow its curriculum.
“I'm extremely passionate about the Ripples to Waves program and creating more opportunities for children to learn to swim and feel confident and happy in the water," said Franklin. "This passion is what sparked my partnership with SafeSplash at the start. The good that will be done by the Ripples to Waves program and the USA Swimming Foundation will be long-lasting and is a great example of why I'm proud to be part of this team."