Making Waves

About The Program

Outdoor Afro launched “Making Waves” during 2019 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 within its sphere of influence learn how to swim. Making Waves also aims to help Black families and Black communities develop a positive relationship with water.

In 2021, Making Waves partnered with global footwear brand KEEN to offer “Swimmerships™” (swim lesson scholarships). Today, our ambitious goal is to teach 1,000 new swimmers basic techniques. Outdoor Afro continues to welcome everyone to support Making Waves, and year-round events, programs, and campaigns dedicated to strengthening connections to water, wildlife, and land. How can you help? Sponsor a swimmer or caregiver by clicking the “DONATE” button below. Thank you for your commitment to helping us address this national issue.

Lesson Locations

Instruction will take place across U.S. communities. Below are sites you can help us get more Black children, their caregivers, and future swim instructors into public swimming pools.

Oshun Swim School in Seattle, Washington

Tankproof in Austin and Dallas, Texas

Evolutionary Aquatics in Charlotte, North Carolina

*Interested in Making Waves lessons within our Bay Area location, click the button to apply.

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 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consistently shows Black youth ages 10 to 14 drown in swimming pools at a rate more than 7.6 times that of white children. This public health disparity is due largely to decades of segregation and exclusion from public pools and beaches.

“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.