Written by The Business Journal Staff
Once again, Kaiser Permanente is stepping up to provide recreational swimming opportunities for Fresno youth.
It has provided a $30,000 grant that will keep Fresno’s five city-owned learner pools open until 8 p.m. this summer. The pools at Fink-White, Pinedale, Quigley, Einstein and Romain neighborhood centers will be open Monday through Friday from 1-5 p.m. to children under 12, with teens and adults able to swim from 5-8 p.m.
“We continue to offer our support each summer because we know the importance of making sure Fresno residents have access to their neighborhood pools where they can swim, or just cool off on a hot, summer day,” Kaiser Permanente Fresno Senior Vice President and Area Manager Debbie Hemker, RN, said in a statement. “We know these pools are highly utilized every summer and provide many families with a safe place to stay active.”
Nearly 25,000 people swam at one of the five learner pools last summer — the first time the pools remained open until 8 p.m. Having longer hours at the pool and opening them up to families was a huge priority for the city, stated Shaun Schaefer, community service manager for the city’s parks department.
“We really wanted to provide more exercise and leisure time for the entire family,” he said.
The grant also supports community events at each of the pools about healthy eating and exercising, a junior lifeguard training program for teenagers from low-income neighborhoods and free swim lessons for more than 100 children at Edison High School’s pool.
It is the fifth year Kaiser Permanente Fresno has helped the City of Fresno keep neighborhood pools open.
Kaiser Permanente Fresno also provided a $45,000 grant to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County for healthy snacks and meals that will be available at the Fink White and West Fresno clubs. More than 600 children are expected to participate in the “Splash into West Fresno Education” program, which includes team sports, water safety lessons and swimming. Parents also receive healthy recipes and instructions for how to prepare healthy meals at home.
The program will run from 1-7 p.m. Monday through Friday at the two clubs, said Diane Carbray, President/CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County.
“It’s just an all-around great experience for these kids,” Carbray said. “This really gives them a chance to engage in something positive when they’re out of school.”