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New Partnership Ensures More Kids Will Learn to Swim

The Shelley Glover Foundation (SGF), the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County, Madison Parks and the Irwin A. and Robert D. Goodman Foundation are pleased to announce a new community partnership that will expand swim lesson opportunities to more Madison children. This summer, beginning on June 23, 2014, the organizations will jointly launch a program to provide swim lessons to participants in the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County summer program, approximately 220 children.  The goal of the program is to provide swim lessons that will focus on teaching children how to swim and the lifetime skill of being safe and confident around water. By partnering with the Boys and Girls Club, the Shelley Glover Foundation, Madison Parks and the Goodman Foundation hope to expand access to swim lessons and swim safety for children of diverse racial backgrounds and lower socio-economic status.

The program is funded by the Shelley Glover Foundation and the Goodman Foundation.  The lessons will take place at Madison Parks Goodman Pool, but some will also take place at Madison Parks beach locations to teach participants the different safety issues that come with a public beach setting rather than a pool setting. The Boys and Girls Club will provide transportation to and from lessons as well as staff to assist with the program.

The four community partners are excited to begin the program. Carmella Glover, SGF president says, “We are thrilled to launch this community partnership to help expand swim lessons to more children in the community. The Boys and Girls Club is able to remove the barrier of transportation that is prevalent in many lower socio-economic populations and will help us get more kids to lessons and ultimately increase water safety, swimming skills and confidence in more children in our community.”  Adds E.G. Schramka of the Goodman Foundation, “The Goodman Foundation is proud to be a part of this pilot program which will provide an opportunity for children to increase their physical activity while becoming  safer in and around the water.”

Michael Johnson, CEO Boys & Girls Club of Dane County agrees, stating, “We are excited to partner with SGF, The Goodman Foundation and Madison Parks to give our youth the opportunity to learn how to swim. It is through partnerships like this one that helps ensure our kids are receiving the skills they need to become successful.”

Eric Knepp, Assistant Parks Superintendent says, “Madison Parks is fortunate to have such great partnerships to help us teach our community’s youth how to swim. Despite the fact that Goodman Pool is located conveniently in the city, we realize not everyone has easy access to transportation. We are thankful to our community partners for working to eliminate this barrier.”

The program will consist of 16 lessons provided by the Madison Parks staff using the American Red CrossLearn to Swim program.  Through the partnership, the Parks Department will also work directly with the BGC to ensure that participants receive swim suits and goggles.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Shelley Glover Foundation.  The organization continues to honor Shelley’s dream that more kids know the joy and health benefits of participating in sports, specifically Shelley’s three favorites, swimming, skiing and soccer. This partnership allows her legacy to live on by removing barriers and building relationships that allow more children in need the opportunity to learn to swim.

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