[Wilmington, NC] A new bubble for the Earl Jackson Pool in Northside Wilmington represents more than an improved swimming facility. This investment by the New Hanover County Endowment will help lift a community in need, provide opportunities for children previously not thinkable and continue to integrate a long-segregated sport in Wilmington.
The Endowment announced today it has awarded $75,000 to NSEA Swim, the nonprofit working with the City of Wilmington to bring programming and water education to the public pool. The funds will replace the bubble over the pool which allows year-round activities.
“We so appreciate the Endowment’s faith in us to continue to provide these opportunities to the residents of the Northside,” said David Witmer, president of NSEA Swim. “With the bubble in place, we can continue to work with the City to teach children and adults to swim and open up competition avenues for children who historically have had no opportunity to participate in this sport.”
Through NSEA Swim, African-American children and adults are taught to swim, addressing a glaring disparity in our community and society at large. Drowning is among the leading causes of death of young African-Americans, which is often directly tied to lack of opportunity to learn to swim and become comfortable in water. Many members of this community carry a fear of water into their adult life, adversely impacting leisure and cultural opportunities many others take for granted.
The bubble will allow for year-round training and competition, providing young African-Americans a chance to participate on swim teams and earn scholarships at colleges and universities. The expanded water access is also a place for swim teams from the overall Wilmington community to compete and practice, thus integrating historically segregated communities by reducing fear and stigma.
“The bubble is so needed for the physical swimming pool,” Witmer said, “but the impact goes beyond facility improvements. This bubble is a door opening opportunities for children who previously were left out, improving their outlook and improving the outlook for all of us.”