Feel Good Friday: Making a Splash and Saving Lives

Washington Local Schools offers swimming lessons to second graders.
Published: Oct. 7, 2022 at 7:35 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 20, 2022 at 6:40 AM EDT
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TEMPERANCE, Michigan (WTVG) - Hundreds of local students are dipping their toes into an experience that is completely new.

“We assume every child goes swimming in the summertime, but that’s not true,” said Bill Colon, principal of Greenwood Elementary. “When we’re done with this, I want every single second grader in the district to be able to keep themselves afloat in case of emergency.”

Leaders in Washington Local Schools have been discussing this program for years. Starting this year, some 600 second graders will attend eight weekly lessons at a local YMCA. They’ll spend 30 minutes learning some basic techniques, then they will be given 15 minutes to play.

“We’re not going old school here,” said Colon. “We’re not tossing any kids in and saying ‘go for it!’ We let them work their way into the pool at their own pace.”

Dick’s Sporting Goods is donating swimsuits, caps, and towels for any child who needs them, and the whole program is covered by donations.

“Any time you can build confidence in a seven, eight-year-old child, that’s a huge step forward,” said Colon.

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