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Operation Splash! Makes A Splash

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A $50,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente will cool off a lot of Riverside residents this summer.

At a brief ceremony Thursday at Shamel Park's pool, the health care company and the City Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department announced that the grant will enable qualifying low-income residents to participate in either swim lessons or recreational swimming.  The new program, Operation Splash!, will pay for up to 10,000 recreational swimming day passes, swim lessons for 200 to 400 people at the community pools, and up to 100 scholarships for the day camps.  Seven city pools will take part.

The Operation Splash kick-off program will include City of Fontana Mayor Mark Nuaimi, City of Fontana Mayor Pro Tem Acquanetta Warren, and City of Fontana Council Members. Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center’s Executive Director Greg Christian, Chief Operating Officer Georgina Garcia, and Director of Public Affairs Jennifer Resch-Silvestri will also be on hand, as well as local kids and parents ready to beat the heat with a jump in the pool and an exciting pre-summer swim!

"When you think of Southern California, you think of everyone having pools in their backyards or lying on the beach," said City Councilmember Andy Melendrez at the ceremony.   "But the reality for many children in Riverside is very different. Many don't know how to swim and may never have the opportunity to go to the beach." Beginning Friday, June 13, Fontana residents will have access to free swimming lessons for the entire family at four local pools.

"Operation Splash provides a fun and vital service for Fontana's kids during the Inland Empire's hot summer months," said Greg Christian, Executive Director, Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center. "We are thrilled to be partnering with the City of Fontana to bring the positive benefits of learning to swim and maintaining a healthy lifestyle to the families of Fontana."           

The Riverside Aquettes, a synchronized swimming team, perform during the opening of Operation Splash!
The mission of Operation Splash is to support aquatic facilities and swim programs that help increase physical activity, diminish the risk of chronic disease, and build strong bodies. The program encourages all participants to become water-safe in a fun and healthy environment. Children and their parents can get more information at their local participating community pools.

"In addition to promoting safety, Operation Splash encourages children to be more active. And the more active they become, the healthier they will be," said Dr. David Quam, Area Medical Director for Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center. "This program is a great example of what can be done through the power of community partnerships."

"We are thrilled that Kaiser Permanente's Operation Splash program is now in Fontana," said Frances Hernandez, Community Services Manager for the City of Fontana. "This will encourage more children to learn to swim and become more healthy and active this summer."

To find out about "Operation Splash" visit any local community pool or visit the City of Fontana Web site at www.fontana.org or call 909-350-6569.  Pre- screening/ registration is required.

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