When trying to keep children healthy and active this summer, several grants from Kaiser Permanente are helping to make that a reality as swimming, reading and healthy snacks and activities are available this summer for children living in Fresno.
The grants’ goals are to keep children active and avoid the “summer brain drain” during the months the children are out of school.
Thanks to Kaiser Permanente Fresno’s commitment to building healthy communities, Kaiser is supporting the city of Fresno’s neighborhood pools, Central Unified libraries and providing healthy snacks and activities at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County.
“We support these programs because we want children to participate in healthy activities during the summer months,” said Casey Gray, MD, Kaiser Permanente Fresno Chief of Pediatrics.
The $30,000 grant to support the neighborhood pools provides free, recreational swimming opportunities at the city’s five learner pools: Fink-White, Pinedale, Quigley, Einstein and Romain Neighborhood Centers. The pools are open until August 4 and hours are from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to children under 12.
The grant also allows the city to keep those pools open until 7 p.m. for extended ‘Family Swim’ hours to encourage families to stay physically active together. Families can swim for free from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The pools grant also supports community events at each of the neighborhood learner pools to teach residents about healthy eating and the importance of exercising, a junior lifeguard program where teenagers from diverse backgrounds and low-income neighborhoods will get the training needed to become lifeguards at the Frank H. Ball, Mary Ella Brown and Mosqueda Community Center pools as well as free swim lessons for 200 children at Edison High School.
This is the seventh year Kaiser Permanente Fresno has kept neighborhood pools open by providing a grant to Fresno United Neighborhoods, or FUN, a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life in Fresno, to help maintain and staff the pools.
The Foundation for Central Schools received a $5,000 grant to keep three Central Unified school libraries open this summer – McKinley Elementary, River Bluff Elementary and Central High School-East campus – to keep children’s minds engage during those months and prevent “brain drain.”
According to Kaiser Permanente Fresno, research indicates students who do not read over the summer suffer significant decline in fluency which impacts their academic abilities once they return to school in the fall.
Central Unified is the only school district in Fresno County without a public library and approximately 2,500 children are expected to visit the libraries this summer, thanks to the partnership between Kaiser Permanente Fresno, the Foundation for Central Schools and the Central Unified School District.
And the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County received a $45,000 grant for healthy snacks and physical activities that will be available at the Fink White and West Fresno clubs which allows hundreds of children to participate in activities offered at those two locations including team sports, water safety lessons and swimming and healthy snacks are provided.
According to Diane Carbray, president/CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County, the program runs from 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday at the two clubs. Parents of those children also receive healthy recipes and instructions for how to prepare healthy meals at home.
Details about Fresno’s recreational swimming program: (559) 621-2900 or (559) 621-SWIM (7946).