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Chula Vista Receives Grant For Swimming Program For Low-Income Kids

Chula Vista's Parks and Recreation Department received a $50,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente for a program to teach low-income elementary school children how to swim.

It is the third year Kaiser Permanente has provided grant funding for the "Operation Splash" program in Chula Vista, which will provide free swimming lessons to 1,100 children.

The program covers the expenses of swimming lessons for two weeks, as well as the cost to transport students from their schools to city pools.

"In addition to promoting safety, Operation Splash encourages children to be more active, and the more active they become, the healthier they will be," said Mary Ann Barnes, senior vice president of Kaiser Permanente's San Diego Medical Center.

To recognize the donation, officials gathered this morning at the Parkway Family Aquatic Center, where more than 100 fourth-graders from Rosebank Elementary School showed off the swimming skills they acquired through the program.

Operation Splash was started by Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles in 2006 in an effort to cut down on drowning and water-related injuries. The program has since been expanded to Bakersfield, Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside, Coachella Valley and Chula Vista.

According to Kaiser Permanente, nearly 60 percent of the participants in the program last year had never had a swim lesson.

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