Evanston Swims!, a community collaboration that offers water safety and swim instruction to Evanston second graders at no cost to their families, recently launched its seventh official season. So far, 216 children have registered for this year’s program.
“As both a parent of an Evanston Swims! alum and a leader of the program, I have seen children develop life-saving skills from this opportunity,” said Jody Koizumi, who serves as coordinator for Evanston Swims!. “Drowning remains a leading cause of death for children nationwide and, here in Evanston, one survey from a few years ago showed that fewer than 20 percent of our first graders were proficient swimmers.”
She added, “Evanston Swims! is changing these numbers and making our children safer, which is particularly important in a lakefront community like ours.”
Through Evanston Swims!, second graders in Evanston/Skokie School District 65 have access to swim lessons on half days of school throughout the year. They either bring a sack lunch or receive a lunch at school and then board a bus to their swimming sites, which include YWCA Evanston/North Shore, McGaw YMCA, Westminster Place, Three Crowns, and Goldfish Swim School.
Since its inception, the program has reached more than 2,000 children.
Evanston Swims! is a partnership between YWCA Evanston/North Shore, McGaw YMCA, Evanston/Skokie School District 65, and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, along with Westminster Place, Three Crowns, and Goldfish Swim School.
Support also comes from the annual Great Lake Plunge open-water swim, which raises funds for the program, and from chaperones and instructors including parents, Masters swimmers, District 65 middle schoolers, and a host of others.
The next session of Evanston Swims! is November 6.