Inner City Kids Get Swim Lessons

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Hundreds of inner city kids—mostly in Miami’s Overtown area—are receiving swimming lessons this summer thanks to the Biscayne Bay Kiwanis Club.

Teaming with the City of Miami Parks & Recreation Department, the Kiwanis Club initiated a ‘mini-grant’ program to underwrite swim lessons at the City’s state-of-the-art Gibson Park Pool, 401 NW 12th Street. To make the community aware of the program the club designed and printed more than 2,000 oversized post cards promoting the lessons and the City distributed the eye-catching cards throughout the neighborhood.

Fifty kids received free lessons for the month of May –– eight 45-minute lessons in total. They can continue their lessons for the rest of the summer and pay $20 each — rather than the $45 a month that Gibson Park regularly charges. Overall, the Club spent more than $7,000 on the program.

The program was officially ‘kicked-off’ with a ribbon cutting featuring local sports celebrity and Baseball Hal of Famer Andre Dawson and City of Miami Commissioner Keon Hardemon. Dawson, the Biscayne Bay Kiwanis Club’s Michael Shores ‘Citizen of the Year’ in 2011, grew up in South Florida and never learned how to swim as a child. Because he learned later in life, Dawson addressed the kids—and their parents—about the importance of learning how to swim at an early age.