Great news out of Rutherford County this morning! Howard's Hope, a nonprofit corporation that provides non-swimming children from economically disadvantaged households with the skills necessary to self-rescue in the event of an accidental water submersion, just received a $33K grant from BlueCross BlueShield Tennessee Health Foundation to their Support Flying Fish program! This program provides the resources necessary for children from low-income Tennessee households to learn aquatic safety rules and participate in organized swim lessons — it has helped 141 children in the last year alone. In a press release, we learned that beginning in the spring of 2017, the Flying Fish program will also be available for Nashville children through the aquatics department at Vanderbilt University.
Steve Reeves, founder and executive director of Howard's Hope states, "Tennesseans are serious about the safety and well-being of their children. When it comes to the subject of juvenile drowning, we would rather be proactive than reactive. This grant will allow us the opportunity to offer the Flying Fish program to over 500 needy children, which will result in a significant reduction in the number of potential juvenile drowning victims in the state."
According to data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children younger than 5-years old and the second leading cause of accidental death in children younger than 14-years old. It's estimated that every day in the U.S., 10 people die from water submersion accidents. Tennessee ranks 11th in the nation for juvenile drownings.
Howard's Hope plans to have the Flying Fish program available statewide within the next three years. For more information on Howard's Hope and to obtain an application for the Flying Fish program, visit howardshope.org or call 615-663-0313.