Grant will fund swim lesson scholarships at Holland Aquatic Center

The Holland Community Aquatic Center (HCAC) will offer swimming scholarships, thanks to the USA Swimming Foundation through its “Learn to Swim” grant. These funds will allow HCAC to provide nearly 200 swimming lesson scholarships through the end of the year.

The Aquatic Center puts great emphasis on water safety education for students of all ages, which is often inaccessible to lower-income families in West Michigan. Just one month of formal swimming lessons can reduce an individual’s risk of drowning by 88%, according to USA Swimming. By offering swimming lesson scholarships, HCAC hopes to make water safety accessible for all families.

“Swimming is a life-saving skill. We’re committed to providing access to swimming lessons to all children in our community,” says Jean Luc Miralda, instructional manager at HCAC. “Our instructors are teaching their students skills that last a lifetime. Being so close to Lake Michigan, we want our students to feel safe without fearing the water.”

Not only for Holland residents

The Holland Community Aquatic Center has received swimming lesson grants from the foundation nearly every year since 2015. This year's grant is the largest HCAC has ever received from the foundation, and it will allow the center to provide scholarships to 200 lower-income students in West Michigan.

“Although we’re located in Holland, this opportunity isn’t only for Holland residents,” says Amanda Duimstra, general manager of HCAC. “We’re excited to offer scholarships for families in surrounding communities as well. Regardless of where they live in West Michigan, we want to encourage anyone who’s interested in lessons to apply for a scholarship.”

Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Qualifying families can enroll students into eight-lesson sessions for a reduced rate of $15 per student, providing access to morning or afternoon weekday lessons at the Aquatic Center. Depending on community needs, scholarship-funded lessons will have rolling admission through the summer.

Interested individuals should submit an online application through the Holland Aquatic Center's website. The application is available both in English and Spanish. The instructional program manager will contact qualifying families directly with next steps.

Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.

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