SOS Sink or Swim was recently named an official Local Partner with USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash initiative to help save children's lives through swim lessons. Through Make a Splash, the USA Swimming Foundation partners with learn-to-swim providers, community-based water safety advocates, and national organizations to provide swimming lessons and educate children and their families on the importance of learning how to swim.
To qualify for the partnership, SOS Sink or Swim was vetted based on its recruitment and selection process of participants and the number of children served; how the program directly benefits children who would not otherwise receive the opportunity to learn to swim; and how SOS identifies participants based on need. Additionally, SOS Sink or Swim was noted for its adherence to USA Swimming Foundation Make a Splash Local Partner best practice standards—which includes a minimum of 4 hours of in-water instruction and a maximum 6:1 student-to-instructor ratio.
According to a Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine report, formal swimming lessons reduce the likelihood of childhood drowning by 88%. Additionally, a 2017 USA Swimming Foundation study reports 79% of children in households with incomes less than $50,000 have little-to-no swimming ability.
SOS Sink or Swim’s 2018 swim season included free, two-week swimming lessons offered at the Bay Hundred Community Pool in St. Michaels, Md., and the George Murphy Community Pool in Easton, Md. Through charitable donations to SOS Sink or Swim and partner support, more than 3,500 area children have received free swimming lessons in Talbot County since SOS began in 2014. The program is docked at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, with CBMM serving as its fiscal sponsor, and administered by the Talbot County Department of Parks & Recreation.
The USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash initiative is a national child-focused water safety campaign, which aims to provide the opportunity for every child in America to learn to swim. The USA Swimming Foundation has invested millions of dollars to provide grants to qualified Local Partner learn-to-swim programs, to spread national awareness, and to bring together strategic partners to end drowning. To date, more than 6 million children have received the lifesaving gift of swim lessons through the USA Swimming Foundation Make a Splash Local Partner network, comprised of more than 850 qualified lesson providers across the nation. To learn more, visit usaswimmingfoundation.org.
SOS Sink or Swim is dedicated to ensuring every child on the Eastern Shore has the ability to swim and knows how to be safe in the water, with a new five-year plan to grow its commitment beyond Talbot County and to service adults. Donations to SOS help keep the program free for all participants, with as little as $50 sponsoring two weeks of free swimming lessons and making a difference for a child in need. To learn more, or to donate to SOS, visit sossinkorswim.org, or send your contribution to SOS Sink or Swim, 606A N. Talbot Street, Ste 109, St. Michaels, MD 21663.