Baton Rouge Brothers helping minority kids learn how to swim

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Statistics show minority children are three times more likely to drown than other children. That's one reason some Baton Rouge brothers started a program they call Tank Proof. It's aimed at breaking an old stereotype.

The outside pool at Crawfish Aquatics has been full for the past two weeks. Everyday morning, between 80 and 100 children have shown up for swimming lessons. Some had to be coaxed into the pool. Others were a little more eager to get in and some were just scared.

"They're always a little scared the first day," said Daniel Zielinski, one of several instructors.

Wednesday marks day seven of the program.

"Black kids and minority kids, 70% of them don't know how to swim," said Thurman Thomas.

Thomas and his twin brother, Torrence, say that's a fact that's pretty well known. They wanted to fix that problem, a problem that's usually not commonly talked about.

The Thomas brothers say they are always looking for ways to give back and came up with the Tank Proof program.

Instructors are in the water for 40 minutes with the children who come from multiple churches and groups.

"Most of them come from the inner city so that's really the focus," said Thomas.

The children range in age from two to 16. The brothers say they've also had a 24-year-old come for lessons.

"I'ts rewarding," said Zielinski. "Because you get to see kids that are terrified the first day that  progress in confidence."

That, says Thomas, is really how they know they are helping to make a difference.

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