KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A partnership has evolved to teach more children across Kansas City, Missouri, to swim.
In 2021, Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City first partnered with the Shikha Memorial Foundation to offer a swim lesson program over the summer. The two groups are now working together to offer the program on a permanent, year-round basis.
Shikha Memorial Foundation has provided an instructor who works with small groups for swimming lessons. Boys and Girls Clubs has several locations across the metro, two of which have indoor pools.
Sania Cay learned to swim in one of those pools. She said a swim instructor encouraged her to give it a try at age nine and the 17-year-old has been hooked ever since.
She placed eighth in the Missouri state championships representing Winnetonka High School.
“I always had a fear of water, but I just got in there and made it happen,” Cay said, giving credit to her first instructor, Macie Menges.
Jason Roth knows Cay may be an outlier, but he’s hopeful more children learn to swim thanks to this program.
“It’s something that is out of reach for so many young people,” Roth, the vice president of resource development for Boys and Girls Clubs, said. “If they don’t know how to swim, they don’t go near a pool. [This partnership] has really transformed how so many of our club members even view this part of the club. It’s something they can utilize now, it’s something they enjoy because it’s not just danger.”
Fundraising is a constant aspect of the swim program. The clubs face expenses related to the pools, supplies, instructor salaries and more. If you’d like to contribute to the program, visit the Boys and Girls Clubs’ website.