Partnership Formed to Offer Free Swimming Lessons in Monroe

Monroe -- (Press Release) Mayor Jamie Mayo and the Monroe City Council are pleased to join Community Affairs Director John Ross to share the following announcements from our Parks & Recreation division, the YMCA of Northeast Louisiana and the Monroe Housing Authority:

The YMCA of Northeast Louisiana will be offering FREE swimming lessons to approximately 60 children who reside in the Monroe Housing Authority Family Developments in the Burg Jones Housing Development at Henrietta Johnson Community Center pool, and to those who reside in the Foster Heights Housing Development at Liller H. Marbles Community Center pool through Thursday, August 7.

Mayor Jamie Mayo says, “By working together we are able to make a difference in the lives of our local youth. There has been extensive media coverage about the number of African-American children who do not know how to swim. With Louisiana being the Sportsman’s Paradise, the temptation is always there for children to take a chance in the water. This is a tremendous start to a program that can save lives and teach a lifelong skill.”

Bruce Watson, City of Monroe Parks & Recreation Director says, “This partnership is great because many kids will learn to swim at an early age. Hopefully, we will be able to expand this effort and additional YMCA partnerships in the future.”

Ronita Ross, CEO of the YMCA of NELA says, “We are pleased to expand our community partnerships to include the City of Monroe and the Monroe Housing Authority as we all continue to work together to improve the lives of our local youth. This collaboration is for our mobile fitness unit aquatics program, which is funded by Louisiana Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation, as well as swim grants from YMCA of the USA. Additional community partners for our mobile fitness unit aquatics program include the West Monroe Boys & Girls Clubs, Twin Lakes Country Club and the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home. We are presently looking to form additional community partnerships with local hotels that have pools – to be able to offer water aerobics classes for senior citizens.”

Frank Wilcox, Executive Director of the Monroe Housing Authority adds, “"Monroe Housing's family developments have a large number of young African American children who reside at our properties and have not been properly exposed to water safety and/or swim lessons but have access to water throughout the summer. With statistical data reflecting that more African American children die from accidental drowning than any other race, I felt a sense of obligation for us at Monroe Housing to find ways to help to address this disparity in our community. I'm thankful that the City of Monroe & the YMCA were willing to collaborate with MHA to help provide these lessons, and I hope that this will be just the beginning of us as community stakeholders, taking on the responsibility to keep our children safe. Hopefully, we will be able to teach more of our children the basics of water safety and swimming in the near future through partnerships such as this one."

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