26 BIG Ideas
The city's leaders in health, science, politics, food, and culture share their game-changing ideas for San Diego in 2016.
(page 11 of 26)
Let’s teach every kid in San Diego County how to swim.
Michael Brunker, Executive Director, Jackie Robinson Family YMCA
There are only three public pools in the Southeastern San Diego community, including the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA where Brunker works. Within its service area, an estimated three-quarters of children ages 5–12 have never taken swimming lessons. “At a time when our kids see loss of life in so many venues, learning how to swim teaches children the value of life—starting with their own,” says Brunker. More pools are needed, as well as more swim instructors, more days and hours of operation, and a way to get the kids to the lessons. “Plus,” says Brunker, “the fear factor of parents who cannot swim themselves.” The San Diego Junior Lifeguard Foundation works with the region’s YMCAs to help fill this gap with its Waterproofing San Diego initiative, running a Junior Guards program, parent-child swim lessons, and more. But statistics show it’s still not enough. “Especially for a coastal region, it’s time to ensure that every child learns how to swim and develops a healthy respect for the water.”