About 40 percent of New York City public school studentsare overweight or obese, according to the Department of Health. The Centers for Disease Control, meanwhile, lists drowning as the second-leading cause of injury-related death forkids 14-and-under.
Into the fray stepsthe Swim Strong Foundation, an all-volunteer nonprofit that promotes water safety and physical fitness by providing beginner and competitive swim lessons at affordable rates.
On a recent Saturday, I spoke to Swim Strong founder Shawn Slevin at Far Rockaway High School swimming pool. In addition to the health and safety benefits of learning to swim, Slevin stressed the life skills that the swim lessons are teaching young swimmers and volunteer instructors. You can listen to the audio trackshere.