Drowning is the 2nd leading cause of unintentional injury death for children ages 1 to 14 years and the 5th leading cause of unintentional death for people of all ages.
In the United States, according to the centers for disease control and prevention. 70% of black children, 60% of brown children, 40% of white children cannot swim. America’s past discrimination, segregation and inequitable access to swimming pools, swim lessons and swimming teams has created staggering drowning rates across socioeconomic lines.
The Rockaway Peninsula in Queens, New York has surprisingly strong currents with a high frequency for rip currents. Despite appearances of relatively calm water, there are rip currents strong enough to carry a swimmer wading in knee-deep water out to sea.
RTE provides free swimming education to people in the most underserved communities. Utilizing public pools and public school pools, children in every neighborhood will have the opportunity to learn to swim to save their own life and grow and thrive in the water. Students old enough to pursue a career in aquatics will be sponsored to be certified in all necessary courses. Local community members will serve as the teachers and lifeguards, some even having learned to swim in this very program.
Through swimming, this program will provide frameworks for not only education and safety but also personal development. Inequitable access is chipped away at until swimming and water safety are a part of everyone’s lives.
Over the course of 2022, we have worked hard to amplify swimming in NYC. The two successful roundtables brought together government officials, executive directors, non profit partners, private business owners and the Water Safety Coalition. We also launched our work with OpenStreetMaps US to “Map for Impact” by identifying all pools (resources) and their status, in NYC, USA, Globally So far, we have mapped 70% of NYC and have received interest from a college group in Atlanta to participate in the effort.
We were featured in AgeGrouper US where thousands of people who enjoy swimming as part of their triathlon training were introduced to our organization.
We met with many of the parents of Waterside on the beach during sunset to discuss water safety and what we can all be talking about at home in order to prevent an accidental drowning. We led a Mappy Hour and spoke to mappers from all over the world who are helping to map for impact. We also partnered with BetaNYC to produce a topographic profile of the sea floor around us.
We tabled at many events, including Jamaica Bay Festival - City on Water and the Jamaica Bay Wellness Festival this past September. We were designated the recipients of part of the proceeds of specific limited prints, Art for Change and have learned that many of the pieces sold quickly. We popped up at our friends store over at Patagonia to table and spread awareness about our organization in conjunction with a film release.
We stood on Canarsie Pier with Water Safety education visuals, and taught whoever walked by the 5 most important facts they need to be aware of as New Yorkers. Partnered with a real mermaid to teach children Pre K - 5th the same water safety facts, but this time around a pool and during the school day. We proudly led the Poseidon Parade in Rockaway Beach this year and we swam and filmed with Speedo.
The Rockaway Hotel
Rockaway, Queens, New York
Jun 2022 - October 2022
Far Rockaway, Queens, New York
PILOT: August 11 2022 - September 17 2022
Salinas Grandes, Nicaragua -
PILOT: Jan 2022 to Sept 2022 (8 months)
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