A group of kids living in New York City public housing are getting free swim lessons, thanks to a program started by an organization that wants to build a public pool on the East River.
Plus Pool is providing swim lessons with the help of New York City Housing Authority and Convent of the Sacred Heart. Many of the kids enrolled in the program live in public housing and come from low-income backgrounds. Something as simple as a day at the pool is a luxury they've never had before.
"Statistically, if you don't learn how to swim between the ages of 8 to 10, you might not ever learn how to swim," said Archie Lee Coates, who helped start the swim program.
"It's not just about swimming, it's about being empowered to do anything you didn't have the opportunity to do," he said.
It's not an easy start: Some of the children have never been in the water before. But it doesn't take long before the kids forget they were ever scared, and they simply just start having fun.
"They're doing wonderful," said Vivian Vazquez, grandmother of sisters Unique, Gianna and Francesca. "They're learning a lot."
And 8-year-old Unique, who admitted she was a "little bit" scared before her lesson Tuesday suddenly had newfound confidence after her immersion in the water. Asked if she was scared of the water at all, she confidently said, "No!"
The Plus Pool group has been campaigning to build the world's first water-filtering, floating pool in New York's rivers.