Lowcountry Aquatic Project Swimming (LAPS) serves kindergarten and first grade children in Charleston's Title 1 schools by providing free swimming lessons as part of the school day. Transportation, swim aids, caps, bags, and extra towels and swim suits are also provided. We have partnered with Charleston County School District (CCSD), the Charleston and North Charleston Recreation Departments, and Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission (CCPRC) to teach our students.
LAPS currently serves 15 schools and 1,400 children and has 25 CPR, First Aid, and Swim Lessons University certified instructors. Lessons are taught in eight (8) thirty-minute sessions and are offered in both the fall and spring semesters of the school year. Through a proven curriculum and data collection based on each student's skill achievement, LAPS is able to show the tremendous progress our children make towards becoming safe, happy swimmers!
LAPS began in 2012 as an outreach program and funded project of the The Logan Rutledge Children's Foundation (LRCF) which was established in 2004 in loving memory of Logan Jennings Rutledge who was born July 30, 2001 at the Medical University of South Carolina, and after a courageous battle, died on August 26, 2001. The foundation funds programs that promote health and welfare for the Lowcountry's children. "As children of the Lowcountry are surrounded by water, we want to introduce a safe and fun way to teach swimming, which is why we are focusing our efforts on helping fund underprivileged children with these learn-to-swim programs," said Mark Rutledge, LRCF President.
In 2017, LAPS became its own 501(c)3 organization and continues in partnership with LRCF to provide vital swimming and safety programs to many of Charleston's children.
Please read our brochure.
Why Learn-To-Swim Programs are Vital:
- 10 people drown each day in the US.
- In 2014, there were 6 drowning deaths of children younger than 15 years old in South Carolina.
- African-American children drown at a rate nearly 3 times their Caucasian peers.
- 70% of African American children, 60% of Latino children, and 40% of Caucasian children have low or no swimming ability.
- If a parent does not know how to swim, there is only a 13 percent chance that a child in the household will learn to swim.
*Statistics courtesy of USA Swimming and Pool Safely.
LAPS is a member of Swim Safe Lowcountry, an alliance of water safety organizations within the Lowcountry.