August 7, 2013 – A new program sponsored by the Department of Health, New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and the Department of Parks & Recreation will, for the first time, enable NYCHA Summer Campers from Manhattan and the Bronx to take part in NYC Parks’ annual “Learn to Swim” program. The “Learn to Swim” program offers free swimming lessons at public pools throughout New York City and teaches a valuable skill that can help prevent drowning incidents.
“Children from lower income families have disproportionately lower rates of swimming skill and, accordingly, higher rates of drowning incidents,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley. “This new summer program is the first step to address these disparities and to ensure that children receive this life-saving skill.”
NYCHA facilities in Manhattan will provide transportation and chaperones for the summer campers to the nearest participating NYC Parks pool and back, and NYC Parks will provide a swim instructor and lifeguard staff to oversee the campers while in the pool. Approximately 250 NYCHA Summer Campers will participate in the program.
“The ‘Learn to Swim’ program will provide a vital asset to youth in public housing by teaching a key survival skill all too often lacking in our under-served communities,” said NYCHA Chairman John B. Rhea. “The collaboration among city agencies is most beneficial in bringing services to our residents, and NYCHA appreciates the efforts of DOHMH and NYC Parks in partnering with us in making this program possible.”
“Every year, thousands of kids learn basic water safety and swimming skills for free through NYC Parks’ ‘Learn to Swim’ program,” said NYC Parks Assistant Commissioner for Public Programs Annika Holder. “We’d like to welcome the campers from NYCHA to this summer’s program, and encourage New Yorkers of all ages to take advantage of this opportunity.”
The “Learn to Swim” program for NYCHA Summer Campers began Thursday, August 1 and will run through Friday, August 23. It will occur from 10 – 11 A.M. at the following pools:
- Wagner Pool, East 124th Street (between 1st Ave and 2nd Ave), Manhattan
- Marcus Garvey Pool, 124th Street and 5th Ave, Manhattan
- Mapes Pool, East 180th Street (between Prospect Ave and Mapes Ave), Bronx