About 64% of Black children in America have little to no swimming ability.

The trio partnership with Government Employees Health Association, Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County, announced that they have received the annual Outstanding Aquatic Branch Program Award from the Kansas Recreational and Parks Association. 

These organizations were acknowledged for establishing the 2022 Parkwood Pool Learn to Swim Program, a collaborative effort to provide children with swimming lessons in an area with the worst health outcomes in the state.

In response, the program offered 200 students summer swim lessons at Parkwood Pool, the only public swimming pool in KCK. The students participated in two, four-day instructional sessions and were provided with necessary equipment, including a swimming suit, goggles, towels, and sunscreen, to support their success in the program.

Arthur A. Nizza, GEHA President and CEO said about 64 % of Black children in the county have little to no swimming ability. The local organization is dedicated to health and wellness and finds it viral to help improve this statistic with the ongoing support of the Parkwood Pool Learn to Swim Program. 

We’re honored to receive this designation which underpins our commitment to making a difference in the communities we serve.”

According to, USA Swimming Foundation 79% of children in families with a household income of less than $50,000 have little to no swimming capability, and over 65% of African American children would like to swim more than they do. 

Furthermore, 38% of participants in the Parkwood Pool Learn to Swim Program had never been submerged in the water prior to the lessons. Through the program, 100% of students improved their water safety abilities and gained confidence in submerging.

“Ensuring our community has equitable recreation opportunities is at the forefront of our core values,” said Unified Government Parks and Recreation Director Angel Ferrara.”

Ferra said the organization is grateful for their community partners GEHA, YMCA, and KCKPS, who helped make the Learn to Swim Program possible. 

“The Y believes that all children should have the opportunity to learn to swim, regardless of their background, where they live, the color of their skin, or their access to a pool,” said Aquatics Program Director II, YMCA of Greater Kansas City Sabrah Parsons.

The Parkwood Pool Learn to Swim Program, now a part of the expanded Joe Delaney Learn to Swim Program, Presented by GEHA, will be held again in June and July 2023.