Seventy percent of black children, and 60 percent of Hispanic children in America do not know how to swim. Seventy percent of children in Detroit do not know how to swim. Ten children die each day due to drowning.
According to the Center for Disease Control, black children are 5.5 times more likely to drown than white children. Alexis Townsend is the aquatic director at the Royal Oak YMCA in Detroit. She is also black.
She almost drowned when she was a kid and wants to make sure that does not happen to any other child. She teaches swimming lessons. She stated that people are surprised that she knows how to swim. She wants to dispel the myth that black people do not know how to swim.
There is a program called Detroit Swims that is designed to break barriers and teach people how to swim. Julie Koroly works for the YMCA. She stated that many children do not know how to swim because of a generational gap. Many parents do not know how to swim, so their children do not know how to swim.
Many children do not have transportation to get to the pool. Six-thousand children have gone through the program. Adults also go through the program. Some people had a lifelong fear of swimming and went through the program to overcome it. Additionally, other adults learn how to swim so that they can keep their children safe.