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IU Natatorium receives grant to fund swimming lessons for minority youth in Indianapolis.

Money will fund swim lesson scholarships aimed at saving lives of Indianapolis minority youth

The IU Natatorium on the campus of IUPUI was named one of 12 grant recipients to fund swimming lessons for minority youth, the USA Swimming Foundation has announced. The world-famous Indianapolis facility, which partnered with the IUPUI Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for its proposal, was selected from more than 50 applicants nation-wide.

Swimming at the Nat
Learning to swim at the Natatorium.

The USA Swimming Foundation is a separate non-profit organization that serves as the fundraising arm of USA Swimming with the mission of using the sport of swimming to improve communities. The first-time grant was offered through the Foundation as part of its Make a Splash initiative, a national child-focused water safety initiative. Make a Splash works to align the nationís top learn-to-swim resources in an effort to save lives. The initiative educates parents through a national awareness campaign, joines forces with grassroots learn-to-swim programs, and reaches thousands of children through in-school materials.

The IU Natatorium, a local Make a Splash partner, was granted the maximum amount of $5,000, which will be used to provide scholarships to Indianapolis-area minority youth so that they may take part in the Natatoriumís already-existing Learn To Swim program. The IUPUI Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion also generously committed a $2,000 donation to the program, bringing the total number of scholarships available in 2010 to 110. Additional support has come from longtime Natatorium sponsor, Kiefer and Associates. The companyís founder, Adolph Kiefer, is a USA Swimming legend and advocate for teaching youth to swim. Kiefer and Associates has agreed to donate necessary equipment and swimsuits. With support from the IUPUI Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the Natatorium was able to identify a community partner, The Christamore House, to collaborate with for this significant project.

Swimming
A swim instructor shows some swim basics.

The Christamore House is a family and community center located in downtown Indianapolis- only a short distance from the Natatorium. Its mission is to promote the general welfare of residents in the Haughville neighborhood, a west side community near downtown Indianapolis and the IUPUI campus. The Christamore Houseís many programs focus on the personal and family development of area residents, and include youth and teen after school programs.

As the Make a Splash initiatives stresses, it is important for all children to learn to swim, as swimming is a life skill, and not just a recreational skill. The IU Natatorium Learn to Swim Program and the scholarships afforded by the USA Swimming Foundation grant seek to instill critical swimming and water-safety skills to deserving Indianapolis minority youth and hopefully start them on a lifetime of health and wellness.