MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT) -- Earlier this year WMOT introduced you to Howard’s Hope, a new mid-state charity that provides free swim lessons for low-income children.
Steve Reeves launched the non-profit after he rescued his daughter from the bottom of a swimming pool during a birthday party. She survived, but many children don’t.
Howard’s Hope says it arranged for 150 children to get lessons last year and hopes to help 500 this year, but they’ve run into a snag. The group is having trouble finding qualified instructors.
Parks and Rec. Aquatics Director Pam Henry is overseeing the Howard’s Hope lessons in Shelbyville. She believes Howard’s Hope is wonderful program, but says it’s also putting a strain her trainers.
“Basically what we’ve done is doubled the amount of classes that we’re able to – that we want to offer -- but I still have the same number of instructors as I had before Howard’s Hope got here.”
Henry says lifeguarding used to be a coveted summer job, but that’s no longer the case. She says the cost and time involved in getting qualified is a problem for many young people.
“Most of our swim instructors and lifeguards are teenagers. They can go and get other jobs in the community that they don’t have to have pre-requisites or qualifications for.”
Henry says it’s doubly important that the Howard’s Hope children receive swim lessons, because in many cases their parents don’t know how to swim either and so wouldn’t be able to save them in a crisis.
Woud you like to learn more about Howard’s Hope?