YMCA receives grants to teach swimming lessons to underprivileged children

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 2, 2003

Alabama Power donated $2,500 to the Greenville YMCA Monday to help pay for swimming lessons for children who would not be able to afford them otherwise.

West Point Stevens matched the donation, totaling the grant to $5,000.

The YMCA selected 25 children ages first through fourth grade from each public school in Butler County to be eligible for the free swimming lessons.

&uot;It's such a great idea and we're so glad to help,&uot; said Judy Gettys, business office manager for the Greenville, Fort Deposit and Georgiana Alabama Power offices. &uot;If it saves just one life, then it will be well worth it.&uot;

The goal is to keep the program going year after year, Gettys went on.

&uot;We'd like for there to be no child who hasn't had swimming lessons by the time they're in the fourth grade,&uot; said YMCA director Amanda Phillips.

In addition, the YMCA provides transportation for the children to and from the lessons.

&uot;Some of the families did not want to participate, but some had more children they wanted to participate than just the one we called,&uot; said Phillips.

&uot;We managed to work it out to where if there was an open slot, we were able to give it to someone who did want it.&uot;

Phillips and circuit clerk Alan Stevenson came up with the idea, said Gettys.

The money for the donation came from the Alabama Power Foundation, Inc. based in Birmingham.

Among the guidelines for receiving a grant from the foundation are that the proposed project focus on needs in the areas of education, health and human services, civic, community, environmental or culture and the arts.

The Alabama Power Foundation also encourages the project to address major community and social needs in a way that will continue to benefit the people in the community for several years, especially those who are economically disadvantaged, members of racial minorities or residents of rural communities.