LEESBURG, Va. (WDVM) — “Whenever there’s bad, good must respond even better”, those are the words from Loudoun County NAACP president/ Pastor Michelle Thomas, who lost her son to a drowning accident. But to honor his legacy, she established a scholars fund.
Pastor Thomas along with her family, joined forces with “Hope Floats Foundation” to establish the “Fitz Scholars Fund.” The fund will go towards saving the lives of others, and Thomas said this foundation will raise money to provide lifesaving scholarships and expand access to swim lessons for children in need.
“Hopefully that the Fitz scholars will include adult learners, so people who weren’t afforded the opportunity to learn how to swim in their youth, especially if they were raised in the 60’s where pools were segregated, can know to take this opportunity into 2020 to learn how to swim because of Fitz legacy,” said Thomas.
Thomas and leaders said systemic racism is also a factor when it comes to some African Americans not knowing how to swim, along with never receiving the opportunity to learn, however, the foundation plans to tackle this deep-rooted issue.
Thomas said drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children under the age of 5, and the second leading cause of death for children under the age of 14. Also, children from low-income families have a higher risk of drowning.
To get involved or make a lifesaving donation to the Fitz Scholars fund at Hope Floats visit https://www.hopefloats.foundation/fitz
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