CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Three Lowcountry mayors and a Boeing executive announced a new regional program on Friday designed to teach more children how to swim.
Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, Mt. Pleasant Mayor Billy Swails and North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey announced the year-round program in hopes of cutting down on drowning accidents and helping children from lower income families become stronger swimmers.
As a part of the program, the Danny Jones Recreation Complex in North Charleston will offer a heated and enclosed pool for year-round access.
The initiative was the vision of Boeing executive Marco Cavazzoni, a former world-ranked swimmer who linked area leaders with the Logan Rutledge Children's Foundation.
"We started asking questions and found there is a need particularly underprivileged communities," said Cavazzoni.
Together, the group produced substantial funding, both private and city money. Nine people drown every day in America, and in communities like Charleston, the youth drowning rate is more than double the national average.
Experts say families need to take advantage of no-cost water safety programs and that is a message the family of Rahkeem White agrees with. White, a star high school football player, drowned join shortly after his high school graduation.
"Just to save them the heartache and pain that we had to go through," says Raven White, Rahkeem's sister, "I feel as if it's very important."