Asphalt Green made headlines when The New York Times reported on our partnership with The Gray Foundation to provide free swim instruction to 2,000 second graders starting June 2024. 

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Today, swim instruction is a critical public health concern. According to a 2017 Health Department survey, more than 25% of New York City students do not know how to swim, despite drowning being the leading cause of death in the United States for children ages 1 to 4, and the second leading cause for children ages 5 to 14. The survey also notes that barriers to swim instruction have disproportionately affected communities of color, as one in four Latino children and one in three Black and Asian children reported being unable to swim. 

New York Council Members Julie Menin and Shekar Krishnan approached Asphalt Green to help design and deliver the Wave Makers initiative thanks to our long history of providing swim instruction to New Yorkers of all backgrounds. Since 1996, our Waterproofing program has partnered with New York City public elementary schools in areas with limited access to pools and affordable swim instruction. To date, Waterproofing has taught over 39,000 second graders how to swim free of charge.

In addition, our Safe Swim NYC initiative has helped provide New Yorkers access to safe swimming opportunities by addressing NYC’s lifeguard shortage. At the start of Safe Swim NYC, only 60% of lifeguard positions were filled in New York City, despite all public pools remaining open. Our initiative is guiding candidates through lifeguard training, certification, and hiring so that pools and beaches can remain open throughout New York City.   

The announcement of Wave Makers shows that we are building momentum and entering a critical moment in our fight to save lives and keep children safe around water. With your help, we can expand free swim instruction even further. Using the secure link below, you can support our cause to ensure all New Yorkers have the opportunity to learn to swim.  

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Our efforts to expand access to swim instruction would not be possible without the support of the Asphalt Green community. We thank you for choosing to make an impact and helping us lead the charge in swim for all.