(NECN: Kristen Doucet) – It was a perfect day to kick off the wheels to water program in Worcester, Mass.
The program helps local kids get transportation to area pools to keep cool.
For Jennyfer Amparo, Worcester's wheels to water program is a summer staple.
She says it's where she learned how to swim.
“I actually learned how to swim with this program, because I didn't know how to swim at first but now after I have gotten a lot lessons, now I can swim on my own.”
The wheels to water program officially kicked off Monday at Crompton Park pool.
Now, in its fourth year, the free program offers city youth transportation to swimming facilities in the city.
“It's more than just swimming; it’s supervised transportation; it's mentoring; it's activity programs; it’s swim lessons; it’s opening facilities to young people who may never have experienced them before,” says youth director Jesse Edwards.
According to the city, more than 1,000 young people registered.
Over the six week period, there were upwards of 7,000 visits to participating pools and city beaches.
“Kids get to experience places like the Boys and Girls club, the YMCA, places that they normally wouldn't get into; they get to go and become part of the bigger community,” says Ron Charette of the south Worcester neighborhood center.
The various summer programs are funded by local sponsors including UMass Memorial Health Care.
The wheels to water program offers swimming lessons at a number of city pools and beaches across the city all summer long.
“We're worried about recreational activities; we're worried about water safety and this aquatics program is terrific teaching inner city kids how to swim,” says John O’Brien, UMass Memorial CEO.
Amparo says she is grateful for the program and looks forward to another summer in the water.
“I like it so much. It’s really fun and it’s cooling; we run around at camp and after we get to go in the pool.”