Swimming is a fun, healthy way to get relief from the summer heat–if you know how to swim. In a city surrounded by water and prone to flooding, knowing how to swim is also a matter of public health and safety.
A partnership between the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORDC) and the American Red Cross provides public pools and swimming lessons so that New Orleanians can enjoy and be safe in, on and around water. This summer, NORDC will have 13 pools open, including its second indoor pool at the Tremé Recreation Center. Free swimming and water fitness lessons are offered to those of all ages and abilities–even to those who are, at first, afraid of water.
“My daughter started off this year terrified of swimming,” said Tara Guy. “I signed her up for the program at the Joe W. Brown Pool. Since September, she has gone from not wanting to get in the water to swimming short distances without any support or floatation devices. Swimming has become my daughter’s favorite extra-curricular activity.”
The NORDC/American Red Cross program also offers training for youth ages 13 and up to prepare them to one day become lifeguards and water safety instructors. These classes help teens acquire multiple skills and can lead to aquatic scholarships and careers.
The NORD Foundation needs to raise $250,000 for the 2013 Learn to Swim Program while it develops sponsorships for ongoing support. The program taught life-saving swimming skills to more than 8,000 New Orleanians last year; this year, with 13 pools open throughout the city, even more citizens will have opportunities to enjoy and be safe around water.