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Countywide campaign brings free swim lessons to area children

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Updated: 6/10/2013 8:20 pm

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The City of Jacksonville has announced a new campaign offering free swim lessons to area children. It's called "Waterproof Jacksonville". Mayor Alvin Brown says the goal is to prevent accidental drowning by encouraging people to become familiar with water safety practices and learn to swim.

SAFEkids Northeast Florida, the City of Jacksonville and several recognized swim organizations are joining forces to provide free swim lessons to youth who may not otherwise be able to afford them. It is available to all children who meet the criteria in Duval County.

"It's very encouraging to see this community come together to help young people," Mayor Brown said. "This partnership is built on time, effort and expertise - things you can't put a price on but mean so much to all of us."

Participants must provide proof of financial need based on participation in the free and reduced lunch program.

JaxParks, through funding assistance from SAFEkids Northeast Florida, is offering lessons for 250 youths, including 50 for military families who meet the financial criteria. First Coast YMCA is proving the most at 272. "That's 696 young people who might never have gotten the chance to learn --and 696 young people who are now going to be safer -- because good people got together and did the right thing," Mayor Brown said.

The swimming organizations in this partnership are: First Coast YMCA; UNF Aquatic Center; Beaches Aquatic Center; School of Swimming; Safety First; Flying Fish Swim Club; Swim Buddies Swim School; Swimming Safari Swim School; Swim and Learn; JaxParks and Kerry Wick Swimming. The Amberjax Swim Club is providing the 300 lessons in advanced swimming techniques. SAFEkids and Garner Pools provided financial support.

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