LAGUNA HILLS, May 14 2015 – Goggles for Guppies, the nonprofit charity founded in 2011 by twin brothers Chris and Matt Hales, crossed the 10,000 mark in donated swim suits, swim caps and goggles distributed to learn-to-swim programs for underprivileged children. Goggles for Guppies was started four years ago by two 12-year old swimmers as a local initiative to encourage low income families in Orange County, CA to enroll their children in basic life-saving swimming lessons. The charitable organization has rapidly grown to become the official equipment distributor for USA Swimming’s nationwide Make a Splash initiative.
According to USA Swimming, two children under age 15 drown every day somewhere in America and 70% of African American children, 60% of Hispanic children and 42% of Caucasian children have little or no swimming ability. Accidental childhood drowning is preventable, but countless low-income families simply cannot afford the cost of basic swimming lessons. Even though many public and private organizations throughout the country offer low or no cost learn to swim programs for poverty level families and their children, the expense of proper swimming equipment can be prohibitive. That’s where Goggles for Guppies steps in. By soliciting unsold merchandise from manufacturers and retailers, and then packaging and shipping hundreds of suits, caps and goggles each month to domestic and international learn to swim programs, the Hales brothers help encourage thousands of young children to learn to swim – the best defense against accidental drowning.
Goggles for Guppies received its first donation of swim equipment from a sporting goods store in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2011. Since then thousands of donated suits, caps and goggles have poured in from manufacturers and retailers throughout the United States. Chris and Matt inventory, repackage and distribute the equipment to requesting learn-to-swim programs, most of which are “Make a Splash” Local Partners with USA Swimming. Additional YMCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs, Special Olympics, inner-city recreation departments, university outreach programs and even private outreach programs for children in Uganda and Guatemala have benefited from their tireless efforts.
Balancing a 4.4 GPA in rigorous high school honors classes with daily early morning and afternoon swim workouts, frequent Southern California Swimming competitions and high school swim meets, Chris and Matt find the way to devote dozens of hours each week to help prevent childhood drowning by encouraging underprivileged children to learn to swim and enjoy the sport of swimming. The brothers have no intention of stopping as long as accidental drowning in oceans, lakes, rivers, streams and backyard pools continues to claim the lives of innocent victims who could not learn to swim because they could not afford a swimsuit, a cap, or even a pair of goggles. While providing swim equipment to thousands of underprivileged children might sound like a big number, according to the young founders of Goggles for Guppies it’s still just a drop in the bucket.
About Goggles for Guppies
Goggles for Guppies is a Laguna Hills, CA based 501(c)(3) non profit corporation dedicated to the elimination of accidental childhood drowning by encouraging underprivileged children to learn to swim through the solicitation and distribution of free swim equipment. The charity was created in 2011 by twin brothers and competitive swimmers Chris and Matt Hales. The history and milestones of Goggles for Guppies can be found on their website at www.gogglesforguppies.org.
Swimming news courtesy of Goggles for Guppies.