Tankeeya Butts knows firsthand how important it is to know how to swim.
Her brother John Joshua Butts drowned at Bird Lake in August of 2006.
He was 16 years old. She tells 13 ABC,
"Josh didn't have a swimming lesson and he didn't know water safety he didn't have a life jacket on and so he drowned."
Tankeeya's mother, Wanda Butts made water safety her mission. she created The Josh Project, a non profit organization that offers free swimming classes to children.
Anytime someone in our area drowns, no matter the age, this organization feels it.
she tells 13 ABC,
"its frustrating ...it reminds us of the work that we yet have to do..we've gotten lax last summer no kids drowned in Lucas county so we felt like we had a win...so now we're taking an l right now so its important to us to turn it around and get our message out there.
That message has helped more than 12-hundred children learn to swim...and this year classes include adults.
Butts tells 13 ABC,
"swimming is a life skill it is a credited sport and its the only sport that can save a life...so its important that kids learn how to swim from skilled instructors...not from their buddy not from their brother unless they are a trained swim instructor."
Butts says this is critical in the Hispanic and African American community.
"70 percent of African American children do now know how to swim...62 percent of Hispanic children do not know how to swim."
The Josh Project is free but requires a 10 dollar registration for children ages 4 and up.
the organization is always looking for donations to keep this program going all year long.
butts tells 13 ABC,
"we really could use some help from the community to help spread out message as well as donations so we can do more in the community."
For more information or to donate contact The Josh Project Inc. at P.O. Box 141015,Toledo, Ohio 43614, 419-973-1383. Web page: www.joshproject.org <http://www.joshproject.org/>, "Like" on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thejoshproject, and follow on twitter <http://www.facebook.com/thejoshproject,%20and%20%20follow%20us%20on%20twitter> at twitter@JoshProject <mailto:twitter@JoshProject>.