YMCA and St. Petersburg Foundation Partner to Offer Free Swim Lessons for Lealman-Area Kids and Teens

Generous Funding from Community Foundation Tampa Bay Ensures Accessible, Lifesaving Swim Education

Lealman, FL (June 21, 2024) – The YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg and the St. Petersburg Foundation are thrilled to announce the launch of the Lealman Swim Program, an exciting initiative designed to provide free swim lessons to children and teens in the Lealman area. Thanks to generous funding from Community Foundation Tampa Bay, this program aims to equip young people with essential swimming skills, ensuring they can enjoy the water safely this summer.

Why It Matters

For years, Florida has led the nation in child drowning deaths, and 2023 was no exception. Florida Department of Children and Families data shows 99 kids drowned to death last year. The importance of swim safety cannot be overstated, yet children in the historically underserved, unincorporated Lealman area of Pinellas County have no direct access to a community pool. 

For years, Lealman community leaders have expressed their desire to build a pool in Lealman, but have faced funding and logistical challenges. In an effort to solve this issue, nonprofit leaders at the St. Petersburg Foundation, Community Foundation Tampa Bay and the YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg put their heads together and came up with a solution: instead of bringing the pool to Lealman, let’s bring Lealman to the pool!

Free Swim Lessons for All Skill Levels

Starting on July 15th, the Lealman Swim Program offers free swim lessons every Monday and Wednesday from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Jim and Heather Gills YMCA in St. Petersburg. These classes are open to children and teens aged 6 to 16, regardless of their swimming experience. Each participant will receive a total of 8 lessons, with a maximum cohort size of 30 to ensure personalized attention and a supportive learning environment.

Convenient and Accessible

To make participation as easy as possible, the YMCA is providing a dedicated bus service that will pick up and drop off participants at the Lealman Exchange. Additionally, two chaperones with Level 2 background checks will accompany the children throughout the program, ensuring their safety and supervision. Each participant will also receive a complimentary swim bag and towel.

“This program is a fantastic opportunity for youth in the Lealman area to learn a vital life skill,” said Ashley Morales, Engagement Director of the St. Petersburg Foundation. “Our goal is to save lives and empower children, ensuring they have the skills and confidence to stay safe around pools, oceans and all bodies of water. We are incredibly grateful to Community Foundation Tampa Bay for their generous support and the YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg for stepping up to host, making it possible for us to offer these lessons at no cost to families. It is truly a team effort and an encouraging showcase of community collaboration to see this program come to fruition.”

Community Support and Lifeguard Training Opportunities

For teens and young adults interested in furthering their swimming skills, the program also offers opportunities to work toward lifeguard certification. Interested individuals can contact the Lealman Exchange at (727) 464-5404 for more details.

Funding from Community Foundation Tampa Bay is also earmarked for Parent & Child swim classes at the YMCA, and scholarships are available on a direct-request basis. “We would love to have mothers and/or fathers bring their little ones for early childhood swim lessons, so we are actively reaching out to families in the Lealman area to offer these lessons, as well,” Morales added.

Sign Up Today

Don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity to learn valuable skills, make new friends, and have a splashing good time! Sign up for the Lealman Swim Program today and dive into a summer filled with fun and adventure.

For more information, contact the Lealman Exchange at (727) 464-5404. Register online today at bit.ly/LealmanSwim.

Media Contact

Keara McGraw


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About the YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg:  

At the YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg, we are strengthening the foundation of our community throughout the St. Petersburg and Largo community. In addition to the countless programs and opportunities made free to the public, the YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg provides scholarship support to ensure equitable access for all so that all families have the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. Learn more at stpeteymca.org.

About the St. Petersburg Foundation:  

The St. Petersburg Foundation’s mission is to build capacity for organizations and the community. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit was created by business entrepreneurs and nonprofit professionals who share a history of commitment to Pinellas County and a record of innovative partnerships and projects that improve the quality of life of county residents. Learn more at stpete.foundation.

About Community Foundation Tampa Bay:  

Community Foundation Tampa Bay is a 501 (C)(3) public charity that connects people, ideas and resources to create meaningful, lasting impact. Across our region — Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties — we are philanthropic partners, connectors and advisors. We understand our area’s most critical needs and champion solutions. Learn more at cftampabay.org.

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