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. To reclaim our legacy and strengthen relationships with water, Outdoor Afro partners with U.S. swim providers to fund lessons in water safety and basic swimming techniques. Our 2024 goal is to ensure 1,500 Black children and caregivers learn this life-saving skill while unlocking joy of water.


Black People Will Swim
Jamaica, New York

Evolutionary Aquatics
Charlotte, North Carolina

Foss Swim School
Eden Prairie, Minnesota

Washington, D.C.

Oshun Swim School
Seattle, Washington

Atlanta, Georgia

Yu Ming Charter School
Oakland, California

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 8 times that of white peers. This public health disparity is due largely to decades of segregation 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," said Making Waves supporter Milton Reynolds. "This campaign offers such a powerful gift of freedom, agency, wellness, and possibility."

Swimmership Counter

2024 Goal: 1,500 New Swimmers Funded