Howard's Hope was recently awarded a $33,000 grant from BlueCross BlueShield Tennessee Health Foundation to support the organization's Flying Fish program. The Flying Fish program provides the resources necessary for children from low-income Tennessee households to learn aquatic safety rules and enroll in organized swim classes.
In the past year, 141 children have participated in free swim lessons provided by Howard's Hope through its partnerships with Middle Tennessee State University and the parks and recreation departments in Shelbyville and Tullahoma. 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 drownings, 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 drowning victims in the state."
"Water is a great place for physical activity, and being safe in the pool or other bodies of water is very important," said Dawn Abel, Director of Community Relations and Foundations for BlueCross. "We're happy to support the expansion of the Flying Fish program to teach children how to be safe in the water."
According to data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children younger than 5-years old and the second leading cause of accidental death for children younger than 14-years old. It's estimated that every day in the U.S., ten people die from water submersion accidents. Tennessee ranks 11th in the nation for juvenile drownings.
Currently offered in Davidson, Rutherford, Bedford, Coffee, and Franklin counties, it's the goal of Howard's Hope to have the Flying Fish program available statewide within the next three years.
About BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation Inc.: The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation, Inc. was established in December, 2003, as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation organized to promote the philanthropic mission of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. The foundation awards grants focused on high-impact initiatives across the state, which promote healthy lifestyle choices and help control health care costs for all Tennessee residents. Working with civic and economic partners, the foundation is dedicated to the support of research, innovative programs and creative approaches to improve the health and quality of life of Tennesseans for generations to come.
Founder of Howard's Hope, a nonprofit charity for disadvantaged children.