Evanston Swims!

Evanston Swims!


Three second grade girls stand with their arms around each other after their Evanston Swims lesson.

Evanston Swims! is a partnership between YWCA Evanston/North Shore, Goldfish Swim School, McGaw YMCA, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, and Evanston School District 65. We offer free water safety instruction and swim lessons to all second grade children in Evanston.

Why do we do it?

We know that there are a large number of children in our communities who do not know how to swim.  A survey of Evanston families revealed that just 17 percent of first graders were proficient swimmers. Almost a quarter had no swimming experience — a basic and vital life skill for any child, especially living in a lakefront community. Nationwide, drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death among children.

How does it work?

On District 65’s early dismissal days once a month, second graders whose families choose to participate in the program are bused to pools at YWCA Evanston/North Shore, Goldfish Swim School, McGaw YMCA, Three Crowns Park, and Westminster Place. They receive water safety instruction both in the pool and in the classroom.

Seven lessons during the school year isn’t enough time to teach most kids how to swim well, but it is enough to provide essential water safety skills. It also gives us an opportunity to evaluate the kids who need extra support so we can continue with them when the year is over.

While Evanston Swims! is limited to Evanston second graders, full and partial scholarships are available at YWCA Evanston/North Shore through the Oswald Roper Memorial Fund for families who want to continue, but cannot afford the cost of swim lessons.

Help support Evanston Swims!

Donations to Evanston Swims! may be sent to YWCA Evanston/North Shore (be sure to include “Evanston Swims! Fund” in the memo line) at 1215 Church Street, Evanston, IL 60201.

We need volunteers too!

Are you interested in volunteering for Evanston Swims!? Learn more here.

For more information

For more information about Evanston Swims!, contact us a evanstonswims@ywca-ens.org.