Updated: Friday, July 12 | Posted: Wednesday, July 10
A new water safety initiative in Hennepin County is offering low-cost swimming lessons to residents this summer.
The program offers a package of eight, 40-minute swimming lessons for $5.
The goal is to promote water safety and reduce drowning rates, especially in communities of color.
"Children of color, especially African American children, are at a much higher risk of drowning than white children and that's something that we're really trying to directly address with this," said Jeremy Zoss, director of communications at the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office.
The program is a partnership between the sheriff's office and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. Organizers say the initiative will provide hundreds of low-cost swimming lessons for children across Minneapolis.
"People seem pretty excited that we're doing something that not only is going to help people stay safe in the water, but also builds the relationship between the community and a couple different branches of their government," said Zoss.
The sheriff's office received a grant for the program and then awarded money to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to defray the cost of lessons.
Individual lessons are priced at $55, but the grant reduced the price to $5 for a package of eight lessons through a swimming scholarship.
Zoss said the low-cost lessons will be available in Minneapolis until Aug. 16.
More information can be found on the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office website.
Other opportunities for free or low-cost swimming lessons in Hennepin County can be found here.
Correction (July 12, 2019): An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that lessons are available for adults. The story has been updated.