Virginia Beach, Va. – It’s another summer and kids are learning a life-saving lesson thanks to Leslie Paul of Virginia Beach. The kids are learning how to swim for free!
This is the seventh summer for Leslie’s program called Really Awesome People Swimming or RAPS, which teaches minority and needy children how to swim.
“We’re surrounded by water. They need to know how to swim,” says Leslie.
These kids are having a great time, but this is so much more than that.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, African-American kids between the ages of 5 and 14 are three times more likely to drown than white kids in the same age group.
When Leslie Paul read an article with those alarming statistics, she was determined to do something about that and started RAPS. This is the seventh summer she’s offered the program.
The first four years of this program, she used her own money to keep it going. She receives no government assistance so now she relies on donations.
We surprised her with a People Taking Action Award, a $100 Visa gift card from our community partner Southern Bank, plus one more big surprise since she told us it takes about $50 per kid in the program. We offered her $500 to help sponsor 10 children.
The donation left her nearly speechless and fighting back tears. “Thank you very much. I don’t know what to say. Thank you very much. This program depends on donations and that’s how we run this program, so thank you very much.”
For more information on how you can take action for RAPS, click here. They can always use donations and sponsors.