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Mission kids get thrown in the shallow end

I grew up in the Mission. And yeah, I almost drowned before I really learned how to swim.

I’m sure the swimming instruction is more sophisticated today — and the pools more closely supervised — than in the Flock of Seagulls-era San Francisco of the 1980s.

After getting tired of saving me from drowning, my (younger) brother — a good swimmer, ironically — coached me to strengthen my dog-paddle and eventually to swim just fine (to stay alive).

So to see Mission youngsters at Garfield Pool getting the chance to safely learn the water before faced with their own sink or swim moment? Well, it hits pretty close to home.

Buoyed by a donation from philanthropist Helen Hilton Raiser, third- and fourth-graders will each get ten half-hour lessons at Garfield Pool at 25th and Harrison.

The Ex reports the San Francisco Rec and Park will use the funds to actively reach out to minority and underprivileged kids in the community, and hopefully find more donors to extend the program to other pools.

A November bond measure gives San Francisco voters the chance to spend $195 million renovating Garfield, Balboa and Rossi pools.

Garfield pool was knocked offline in late 2009 and 2010, when routine maintenance forced a closure that lasted several months. A celebration to welcome the pool back at the time was captured by Mission Local.

San Francisco’s eight public swimming pools mean just one site for every 100,000 residents.

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