The British Swim School

The British Swim School - East Valley in Gilbert is decked out in holiday fashion in the lobby of LA Fitness to help drive donations for the House of Refuge.

A Gilbert swim school is getting into the holiday spirit with a donation drive and a new partnership.

The British Swim School - East Valley, which holds its classes  in LA Fitness, 3625 S. Gilbert Road, has partnered with the Hope Floats Foundation as a founding member to fundraise and provide scholarships to high-quality swim lessons for low-income children and their families.

“The equivalent of thirteen school buses full of children die each year in the United States due to drowning,” the school said in a release, noting the National Institute of Health estimated lessons can cut the risk of drowning by 88 percent.

“There’s a huge need for swim lessons, and the kids need them the most – lower socioeconomic level kids – they’re not getting them,” said Cindy Tonnesen, founder of the Hope Floats Foundation.

Swim school owner Dejan Simurdic said, “The British Swim School - East Valley is excited to for the opportunity to pay it forward by supporting and offering scholarships for swim lessons in our community. We are dedicated to doing our part to make sure all East Valley residents are safe in the water.”

The Hope Floats Foundation scholarship program formally launched in September 2018. With 144 locations across 25 states, Hope Floats and its partner swim schools provide thousands of swim lessons for children who otherwise do not have access. 

Meanwhile, The British Swim School - East Valley is collecting nonperishable food items at LA Fitness to benefit the House of Refuge until Dec. 20.

The House of Refuge is a faith-based, nonprofit organization helping homeless families with transitional housing and services to assist residents towards self-sufficiency and permanent housing.

A drop-off box is in the gym lobby. Special requests are for canned beans, canned corn and cereal. 

The swim school also is assisting in a Santa’s Workshop space where underprivileged youth can come and shop for gifts for their parents.

“We are passionate about giving back and making our community a better place to live and work,” said Simurdic. 

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