HS Swim Team Raises $6,500 for YMCA Water Safety Program

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Chicago Daily Herald


Swimmers for Life, a nonprofit created by former members of the Deerfield High School swim team, has raised $6,500 in support of the North Suburban YMCA's new drowning prevention program. The gift continues a partnership between the Y and the group's founders, who launched Swimmers for Life while still in high school to promote water safety for all children. Lauren Kurzydlo and Grace Frankel were inspired to create Swimmers for Life in 2014 when they were teammates at Deerfield High.

They shared a lifelong love of swimming that had been developed through childhood lessons, and felt strongly that all children should have the opportunity to enjoy the water safely. They were stunned by statistics that show accidental drowning to be the second leading cause of death among children. The swimmers decided to work with the YMCA to support swim lesson scholarships through the Y's Strong Kids Fund.

"I grew up taking classes at the North Suburban YMCA and loved them," Kurzydlo said. "When Swimmers for Life was searching for a strong swim partner in our community, serving a diverse population to help us achieve our goals, we reached out to the YMCA. "Not only were they enthusiastic to partner with us, but they helped us go above and beyond what we would have been able to do on our own. We are so excited that our combined passion for providing swim and water safety lessons could help prevent childhood drownings for all."

Joined by Lauren's sister Lily Kurzydlo, they began fundraising at swim meets and events, selling rubber bracelets and accepting donations. In 2015, their efforts enabled them to donate $2,000 to the Strong Kids Fund. In 2018, the Y launched its "Two Seconds Too Long" swim safety initiative, which provides free water safety assessments to second-graders on a school-by-school basis, beginning with seven elementary schools in Wheeling and Northbrook.

Children who lack sufficient skills are offered a free series of water safety classes, along with discounted rates on future swim lessons. Although they have now moved on to college, the founders of Swimmers for Life were excited to continue their support for the Y in this new program that fits perfectly with their original goals. In addition to the donation of funds, they plan to participate as volunteer instructors as the program moves forward.

"We are so inspired by the dedication and community spirit that these young leaders have shown," said Kathy Fielding, NSYMCA vice president of Membership Engagement, Marketing and Programs. "Their hard work will help provide life-changing swim lessons to many children who otherwise would be at risk."

"We chose to work with the North Suburban YMCA because they share the same fundamental value that Swimmers for Life was built on," Frankel said. "This value, that every child deserves equal opportunities regardless of their parent's financial situation, is what led us to start Swimmers for Life. Not only does the YMCA embrace this belief, but they inherently share it as well, and this is what makes them such an amazing organization to work with."

For more information, visit NSYMCA.org or contact Kim Nyren, [email protected] 

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October 17, 2018


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