It’s a ‘G’ Thing: Asphalt Green’s Waterproofing program provides free swim lessons for low-income kids

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Oh the sounds of summer! Splashing, kicking, swimming.

“You get to learn new things here,” Kyle said.

"I learned how to swim on my back," Amaya smiled.

These kids are part of a unique program called Waterproofing at Asphalt Green.

“We call it that because we want the kids to be safe in the water when they’re done," David Ludwig, community programs director, said. "So we say that they are water proof.”

The program is mostly for second graders from under-served communities in the city.

Related: Drowning statistics in NYC

“We teach over 2,500 kids how to swim for free during the school day [year-round],” Ludwig said.

“I’m so excited like when I’m riding on the bus, I’m so excited to come here,” Amaya said.

"[We want to the kids to] float on their back and then secondly we start them kicking,” Kevin Nickels, swim instructor, explained. "Then mainly is them being able to comfortably go under water."

Related: Life-saving pool skills to teach kids before summer

For some of the kids, just getting in the water is the hardest part.

“At first I was very scared to get in the water and hold my breath under water,” Amaya said.

"[I used to be afraid] but then somebody named Kenny showed me how to not be afraid," Christopher said. "So I’m not afraid anymore.”

“When you overcome the fear, what does that mean to you?" I asked Kyle. "That means you’re starting to feel a little bit brave,” he said.

Bravery that also helps these kids out of the pool.

“I hear so much from the teachers about just general self confidence,” Ludwig said. "That translates to a lot in the classroom and socially.”

“It helps me to be fearless,” Amaya said.

While these small swimmers are just getting started they're already looking to springboard their way to the next level.

“I’d really like to become famous for swimming!” Amaya smiled.

 

Produced by: Kim Pestalozzi

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