Flying Fish Program provides hope to keep your child afloat in the water

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Summer is nearly over and diving into a pool probably isn't on your list of things to do today. But, one organization still wants to teach children how to swim.

President Steve Reeves told our crew about the terrifying day that turned him into an advocate. Reeves remembers it like it was yesterday.

"Nobody saw our daughter in the water," Reeves recounted.

Reeves' daughter Kayleigh jumped into a swimming pool during a get together with friends. But, Kayleigh didn't know how to swim.

"It's a bigger problem than most people realize," Reeves said.

The next day, Reeves took Kayleigh to swim lessons to teach her a lifesaving lesson. Now, his organization, Howard's Hope, wants to help more children through its Flying Fish Program.

"According to our research, 70 percent of African-American children don't know how to swim, 60 percent of Hispanic/Latino children don't know how to swim and 40 percent of Caucasian children don't know how to swim," Reeves said about the research conducted by his organization.

Parents in Huntsville and nearby communities are encouraged to sign their children up for Howard's Hope's free swim lessons this October at University of Alabama in Huntsville's fitness center. The lessons are for children living in low-income households. Selection is needs-based.

"The fear of water is passed down from mom and dad to the child, because mom and dad never learned how to swim," Reeves said of an obstacle his organization is trying to combat.

Howard's Hope is accepting applications now for the Flying Fish Program. The swim lessons take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. from October 10 through the 26th.

To sign your child up, visit www.howardshope.org/application. The program is free for children residing in low-income or economically challenged households. An application is required to determine eligibility.