Keeping kids safe in the water with free swim lessons

HOUSTON – As we know, a great way to beat the heat is by jumping into a pool, lake, or even the bay. Sadly, it’s during the summertime that drowning is a leading cause of accidental death for children younger than five.

According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, 28 children have drowned in Texas this year. Of those children, six have been in Harris County.  Last year, 76 children drowned in Texas. Eight of those children were in Harris County. In 2020, 87 children drowned in the state. Twelve of those children were in Harris County. In 2019, again, 87 children drowned in Texas, 18 of those children were in Harris County. In 2018, 91 drowning incidents were recorded in Texas, 10 of them were here in Harris County.

Houston black-owned beverage company Exotic Pop and Imaine Molo, a female CEO and Houston promoter have partnered to offer free swim lessons through Exotic Pop Community to children in Third Ward.

For people like Jasmine Brooks, this opportunity could mean the difference between life or death for her 4-year-old child, Nyomi.

“Lifejacket. That makes you safe and float,” explained an excited Nyomi from in the pool at Gigglin’ Marlin Swim School (Gigglin’ Marlin Dive and Swim - Scuba Diving & Swim Lessons | Scuba Diving & Swim Lessons, Gear & Repairs - Houston (gigglinmarlin.com), where the lessons are happening.

“I think it is important for her to be confident in the water, be comfortable, in the water. I know like for myself, I don’t even know how to swim. I have taken the time to make sure my daughter is not in the same position I am as an adult who doesn’t know how to swim. I think more so just the access, and what is put into the community, is probably the biggest issue, and again, our culture, is not something you see often, you don’t see many African American swimmers or minority swimmers,” said Jasmine Brooks, Nyomi’s mother.

Kehlin Farooq is president and partner of Exotic Pop Beverages. 

“Unbeknownst to many, a lot of African American children, because of pricing sometimes, unfortunately, do not know how to swim, but love water just like every other kid,” Farooq said.

Kelsee Eggleston is the lead swim instructor at Gigglin’ Marlin Swim School. 

“Black and brown kids, especially within the inner city, Third Ward, definitely have a hardship finding swimming lessons because of their price range,” Eggleston said.

Ten-year-old swim student Ethan said, “Learning how to swim can save your life in a lot of occasions.”


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