It's not your typical classroom. But for third-graders at Northwood Elementary, the High Point Swim Club is a place to learn skills that may just save their lives.
About 100 students have been participating in Swim 4 Fun/Swim 4 Life, a four-week program that teaches children basic water safety and healthy habits - absolutely free. Thanks to a grant from the Molly Millis-Hedgecock Foundation and sponsorships from Courtyard by Marriott of High Point, TYR swim products and Pannell Swim Shop, students don't even need to provide a towel to attend.
"We've taken every obstacle away," says Aaron Reeves, head coach at High Point Swim Club and one of the creators of the program. He says it gives him and his fellow coaches a chance to impact kids' lives and satisfy an intrinsic need to give something back.
And for the students at the pool, it's a chance to move forward. Besides learning skills such as diving, floating and blowing bubbles, the students also enjoy a healthy snack and learn the importance of good nutrition and physical fitness.
"This program gives our students the opportunity to build their confidence and self-esteem and equip them with knowledge that will protect them throughout their lives," says Northwood Principal Scott Winslow. According to the Centers for Disease Control, drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14.
Northwood, which started the lessons in March, is the first Guilford County school to participate in Swim 4 Fun/Swim 4 Life, but Reeves hopes it won't be the last. He's looking for more grant opportunities to help fund the project, which costs about $3,500 per classroom. Current funding will continue the program through fall 2012.
For more information, contact Reeves at 336-887-4772 or Winslow at 336-819-2920.