The Importance of Learn-to-Swim Programs

Swimming is a life-saving skill that builds self-confidence and a desire to achieve.

Unfortunately, swimming is a skill that many low-income children do not have the opportunity to acquire. Nearly 70% of African-American children and 58% of Hispanic children have low or no swimming ability, putting them at higher risk for drowning. In predominantly minority communities, the youth drowning rate is 2-3 times higher than the national average.

Learning to swim:

  • Encourages attention to detail and commitment to a goal
  • Teaches resilience and strategies to overcome fears and obstacles
  • Inspires children to adopt a healthy lifestyle
  • Introduces a competitive sport
  • Teaches skills for summer employment
  • Builds trust, fosters camaraderie, and is FUN!                                                                                                                                


The Kara Kennedy Fund supports the learn-to-swim programs at Horizons Greater Washington (3 sites), Horizons Greater Boston (3 sites), and Horizons Newark (NJ).  In 2022 with the addition of Fund support for Horizons at San Francisco Friends School, more than 1,000 students will participate in these Horizons academic enrichment programs while learning to become proficient swimmers.

Watch the videos and see the positive impact learning to swim has had on students’ lives.