CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Typically When we talk about swim safety programs, the focus is on children. Adults are often overlooked.
A local organization hoping to change that narrative is offering free lessons to adults this summer, and it's having quite an impact.
Natasha Isaacs says her 8-year-old son is her reason for wanting to learn to swim.
"He loves to swim, so I had to learn how to swim because this is what he wants to do all summer long is be in the water," Isaacs said.
Even the thought of being in the water terrified Isaacs just four weeks ago.
"My biggest thing was always water over my face. I was totally scared when that happened," she said.
And she's not alone. The American Red Cross says more than half of all Americans don't meet basic swim safety requirements. Perhaps even more alarming, just one in three African Americans have basic water safety skills.
"A lot of adults, especially in our black and brown communities, do not know how to swim," said Kyla Woods, a swim safety advocate.
That's why Woods teamed up with 3CDC to create a PSA encouraging adults to take advantage of the free adult swim lessons 3CDC is offering for the first time this summer at Ziegler Pool.
"Just because you become an adult and don't know how to swim doesn't mean that you shouldn't learn how to. We want to make sure that if someone wants to that they have the ability to, and we'll do anything within our power to make sure they have that opportunity," said Joe Rudemiller, the vice president of marketing and communications at 3CDC.
And more people than expected jumped at this opportunity.
"Just to see the outpouring response from people in the community. So many women have responded and written to me and said I saw the PSA and I went to learn how to swim!" Woods said.
Pat Hunley is one of those women who signed up after seeing the PSA on social media.
"I've gotten really good at doing the back float! And now I'm staring the backstroke," Hunley said.
Hunley and her classmates are now halfway through their eight-week session. They're in the pool four days a week for an hour working alongside their instructor.
"They reach you wherever you are, and we all cheer each other on," Hunley said. "We need to learn how to swim. We need to get away from that fear of the water."
The lessons were originally only supposed to last four weeks, but the participants were so engaged and enthusiastic the session was extended another month.
3CDC is looking for another instructor to teach a second session. That would start late in July or in early August.