Making Waves

About The Program

In 2019, Outdoor Afro launched “Making Waves” in response to the alarming number of Black children who drown today tied to the historic prohibition of Black access to beaches and public pools. It is Outdoor Afro’s goal to help every Black child and their caregiver in its sphere of influence learn how to swim, and develop a positive relationship with water. In 2021, Making Waves partnered with global footwear brand KEEN and The Y to offer “Swimmerships™” (swim lesson scholarships) with a big goal of helping 100,000 kids and caregivers swim over the next 10 years.

Outdoor Afro welcomes everyone to join in and support its many year-round events, programs, and campaigns. How can you help? Sponsor a swimmer and caregiver by clicking the “DONATE” button below. After you choose your donation amount, write “Swimmerships™” in “Your Note for the Donor Scroll.” Thank you for this important step to addressing a national issue with our relationship to water. 

Bryson’s Story

Meet Outdoor Afro’s first Swimmership™ recipient. Watch Bryson’s story to learn his motivation to learn how to swim. Advice for first-time swimmers:

Swimming is a life-saving and nature-embracing skill. Outdoor Afro created Making Waves because research consistently shows Black youth ages 5 to 19 drown in swimming pools at a rate more than six times that of white children. This public health disparity is due largely to decades of segregation and exclusion from public pools and beaches. We’re working to reclaim our legacy in water.

“As an avid angler and outdoorsman myself, I can’t begin to fathom all the joy I would have missed out on or the dangers I would have subjected myself to had my parents not ‘waterproofed’ us as kids. This campaign offers such a powerful gift of freedom, agency, wellness, and possibility.”

Making Waves supporter
Milton Reynolds


Swimmership Counter

let’s reach 1,000 swimmers in 2023


Outdoor Afro x KEEN

KEEN x Outdoor Afro’s collection launched April 2022 to support Making Waves. This collaboration features designs by artist and Outdoor Afro volunteer leader Leandra Taylor.