With pools opening to fight the summer heat, parents can’t help but worry about their kids.
Some children don’t have access to swim lessons, putting them at a higher risk of drowning. But thanks to Texas twins Torrence and Thurman Thomas, the youngest members of their community are learning the vital skills they need to stay safe in the water.
Thurman was 9 years old when he almost drowned at his baseball team’s pool party. Fortunately, a parent jumped in and saved him. Other kids aren’t so lucky. When Thurman and Torrence learned how common this is, they both made it their mission to save other children.
“African American children are five and a half times more likely to drown,” Torrence told CBS Evening News. “It blew us away and we then had to make a decision to decide, ‘Okay, what can we do with this?'”
In 2012, the brothers founded Tankproof, a nonprofit that offers free swim lessons to underserved youth, pairing children with volunteers who can teach them the ropes. So far, the organization has served more than 2,300 kids, putting their parents’ minds at ease.
That said, the brothers weren’t sure whether swim lessons were possible this year because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. So they shifted their focus to feeding hungry children. According to Southern Living, the organization has given out more than 1,100 meals a week in Louisiana and Texas to make up for the loss of school lunches.
Even better, volunteers are back in the water this month in Austin wearing face shields — and helping young swimmers believe in themselves.
“We teach swimming lessons, yes, but we really teach confidence,” Torrence said. “If we have a child that comes in and your worst fear is the water and you can conquer your worst fear together, what’s left? What’s next?”
What an incredible way for these two to protect their community! Not only are they giving kids confidence, but they’re saving lives!
Learn more about the twins and Tankproof in the video below, and share as a reminder of how important is it to learn to swim!
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