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Partnership and Establishing the Eric Bass Swim Lesson Scholarship

We support Hope Floats Foundation. Donate today. Your donation allows us to teach a child in need to save their own life.

Why did Swimming Safari partner with Hope Floats & create the Eric Bass Swim Lesson Scholarship Fund?

From Joani Maskell, owner of Swimming Safari Swim School:

When we learned that Eric Bass passed away last August, of 2020, we knew we wanted to honor him and this was the right step. He was one of Swimming Safari Swim School’s first instructors and helped start what we have now. What was missing for our team was what Hope Floats brought forward for us: The ability to help others, less fortunate than ourselves. By setting up the Eric Bass Swim Lesson Scholarship Fund through Hope Floats, we can do just this. Families can have their children learn to swim whether they can afford lessons or not.

This has been a long-time desire of mine: to provide swim lessons to all, throughout the North Florida area. It is SO important for all children to learn to swim in our community, especially living here in Florida with so much water surrounding us! Now, because of our partnership with Hope Floats, and establishing The Eric Bass Swim Lesson Scholarship Fund, we can do this and save so many more lives!” says Joani Maskell, founder of Swimming Safari Swim School. (
To find out more about what lead to the creation of this fund, check out our blog post about Eric.)

Hope Floats Foundation is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to prevent drownings by providing scholarships for swim lessons. Hope Floats partners with local communities to offer financial need-based scholarships at over 200 swim school locations in 31 states. SSSS has recently partnered with Hope Floats.

What does Hope Float do to help?

By partnering with high-quality swim schools to provide scholarships for swimming lessons for children living in poverty, Hope Floats takes care of the qualifying work, accumulates the money, and directs the money into the right hands for scholarship assistant. They are a force for good in our communities. ‘Hope Floats Foundation is a partnership of caring businesses, individuals, and swim schools that give back to the community and make a difference by saving lives every day through the life-saving gift of swimming.”— Cindy Tonnesen, Hope Floats Founder.

Drowning Facts:

  • Drowning is the Leading Cause of Accidental Death in the U.S. for Ages 4 & Under (CDC).
  • Drowning is the 2nd Leading Cause of Accidental Death in the U.S. for Ages 14 & Under (CDC).
  • Globally, the highest drowning rates are among children 1-4 years, followed by children 5-9 years (WHO).
  • Lower socioeconomic status is associated with higher risk of drowning (WHO).
  • African American children in the U.S. drown at rates 5.5 times higher than whites (CDC)

Scientific Benefits of Swimming for Children:

  • Participation in formal swim lessons reduces risk of drowning by 88%! (Studies at the National Institute of Health)
  • Children who learn to swim at a young age, not only are able to save their own life, but reach developmental milestones earlier than their non-swimming peers.
  • According to Griffith University research (2013), young children who participate in swim lessons at an early age boosts the development of the Whole Child and are:

* 20 months ahead in understanding directions
* 17 months ahead in story recall
* 10 months ahead in cognitive skills
* 7 months ahead in fine motor skills

Hope Floats Foundation provides 3-month scholarships for swimming lessons for children who qualify for free/reduced lunch. A requirement of the scholarship program is that all families must make a financial contribution toward their lessons. Click to see if your family qualifies or send an inquiry to learn2swim@hopefloats.foundation.

Please note: all eligibility requirements and application review are handled by Hope Floats. Swimming Safari is not involved in the process to determine who will receive a scholarship. For questions about the program or the status of your application please email learn2swim@hopefloats.foundation.

How can I help if I want to give towards this scholarship fund?

We support Hope Floats Foundation. Donate today. Your donation allows us to teach a child in need to save their own life.

How Can I Apply for a Scholarship?

  1. Visit the Apply for Assistance page on HopeFloats.foundation
  2. Complete the online form – Allow 3 to 4 weeks for application review
  3. Once approved a check will be issued for the cost of the lesson. Submit check to Swimming Safari Swim School.

Scholarship Application Process

Scholarship Process Flyer for Families thumbnail


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