A program to teach Evanston second graders to swim has more than doubled in size and moved out of its pilot phase, the Evanston Community Foundation said Monday.
Evanston Swims!, which provides free monthly swimming lessons to second graders in Evanston/Skokie School District 65, started through Evanston150, an initiative to improve Evanston in celebration of the city’s 150th anniversary in 2013.
The program launched in October 2012 in three elementary schools and has since expanded to include eight elementary schools.
(Evanston150 measure to teach all students how to swim)
“The success of Evanston Swims!, is the result of true community partnership,” Bill Geiger, outgoing CEO of the McGaw YMCA, said in a news release. “Evanston/Skokie School District 65, the YWCA Evanston/North Shore, YMCA, and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, as well as many community volunteers and donors have all come together to support our youth.”
Since the program began, ECF collected money to support the program. On Monday, ECF said it transferred the more than $17,000 fund for the program to the YWCA Evanston/North Shore.
Pam James, who served as chairwoman of the Evanston Swims! committee, helped develop the program.
“While Lake Michigan is beautiful, it’s also dangerous,” James told The Daily in 2012, saying the program would promote water safety.
“In addition to being life-saving, it’s also something that’s lifelong and that’s life enhancing and that opens the door to so many other opportunities,” she said.