Swim to Survive Program

Empowering BIPOC Communities in Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge | Applications for the 2024 summer cohort are now closed.


Afropolitan Canada's Swim to Survive initiative aspires to empower BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) individuals and families in Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge by fostering essential life skills. We recognize the crucial importance of water safety in Canada, particularly the need for programs specifically designed to address the experiences of BIPOC communities.

Our program aims to bridge this gap by providing essential swimming skills, while simultaneously fostering confidence, inclusion, and a sense of belonging within a supportive community. By equipping participants with these vital life skills, we empower them to navigate water environments effectively and confidently.


In 2023, our program achieved resounding success, with all spots filled within hours, providing essential swimming classes to 90 women and children. Certified instructors, in collaboration with the City of Kitchener, created a safe and inclusive space where participants not only learned to swim but also experienced the joy of a supportive community. Building on this achievement, we are expanding in 2024, offering eight sessions from July to August across three pools.

Building on Success

This year, we're expanding to offer:

Inclusive participation: Open to BIPOC men, women, and children (aged 5 years and older).

More spots available: We've increased capacity to accommodate more swimmers.

Specialized female-only sessions: Offering dedicated instruction for added comfort.


The Swim to Survive Program is a water safety initiative designed to teach basic survival swimming skills to children and adults, equipping them with essential abilities to survive an unexpected fall into water.

Afropolitan Canada is facilitating this program to support the advancement of water safety in the BIPOC community. The program is open to all BIPOC men, women, and children (aged 5 years and older).

Thanks to the generous support of the City of Kitchener, we're happy to offer these swimming lessons entirely free of charge!

The program focuses on teaching three critical skills: rolling into deep water, treading water for one minute, and swimming for 50 meters. These skills are essential for self-rescue in the event of an accidental immersion in water.

No prior swimming experience is necessary. The Swim to Survive Program is suitable for beginners and individuals with varying levels of comfort in the water.

The duration of the program is 8 weeks in July and August 2024.

Trained instructors certified in water safety and swimming education, employed by the City of Kitchener, lead Swim to Survive Program sessions.

Yes, the program is specifically designed to cater to non-swimmers and individuals with limited swimming abilities. It provides a safe and supportive environment for learning essential water survival skills.

Safety is a top priority during program sessions. Instructors closely supervise participants, and appropriate safety equipment, such as life jackets, may be provided as needed. Additionally, sessions are conducted in controlled water environments, such as pools, to ensure a safe learning environment.

Yes, participants who successfully complete the Swim to Survive Program may choose to advance to more advanced swimming programs to further improve their swimming skills and confidence in the water.

Yes, we will offer women's-only sessions at an indoor facility with limited public viewing, in collaboration with the City of Kitchener.

No, your child can participate on their own with your consent.