Kaiser Permanente Fresno provides grants to keep neighborhood pools and libraries open this summer. Pictured above, Fresno City Council Member Oliver Baines (left) and Fresno County Supervisor Brian Pacheco read to students during an event announcing Kaiser Permanente Fresno’s support to keep libraries open.
To escape the brutal Valley heat, Alyssa Tellez often brings her 2 children to their neighborhood pool for an afternoon swim.
Tellez says she’s grateful the pool is open. Otherwise, her children would be stuck inside their house all day.
“They love it here,” she said as she watched her children splash in the water. “We don’t have a pool, and when it’s triple digits outside, there’s no better way to cool off.”
The pool at the Fink-White Neighborhood Center is one of 5 open this summer thanks to a $30,000 Community Benefit grant from Kaiser Permanente Fresno. This is the fifth year that the organization has helped the City of Fresno keep its pools open by providing a grant to Fresno United Neighborhoods, or FUN, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life in Fresno.
Nearly 25,000 people swam at 1 of the 5 pools last summer, and even more are expected to use them this summer, said Shaun Schaefer, community service manager for the city’s parks department.
“We know these pools are highly utilized every summer and provide many families with a safe place to stay active,” Kaiser Permanente Fresno senior vice president and area manager Debbie Hemker, RN, said.
Exercising Children’s Minds, Too
Fresno children also have a place to exercise their minds this summer, thanks to further support from Kaiser Permanente Fresno.
An $8,000 sponsorship from Kaiser Permanente Fresno Community Relations to the Foundation for Central Schools is keeping 3 school libraries open, which provide access to hundreds of books and other educational materials.
The Central Unified School District, located west of Highway 99 in Fresno, does not have a public library in its boundaries. Students living in the district have to travel several miles to access the closest public library.
Students now have a more convenient way to keep up on their reading and prevent loss of learning over the summer months, Central Unified School District Superintendent Mark Sutton said. About 2,500 children are expected to visit the libraries this summer.
“We’re fortunate to have Kaiser’s support to keep these libraries open, giving our students safe places to access books, continue their enjoyment of reading, and participate in programs,” Sutton said.
An All-Around Great Experience
Children who swim at the Fink-White Neighborhood Center also have access to healthy snacks and other daily activities.
Kaiser Permanente Fresno provided a $45,000 Community Benefit grant to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County for healthy snacks and activities at the Fink-White and West Fresno clubs. More than 600 children are expected to participate in the “Splash into West Fresno Education” program, which includes team sports, water safety lessons, and swimming. Parents also receive healthy recipes and instructions for how to prepare healthy meals at home.
“It’s just an all-around great experience for these kids,” said Diane Carbray, president/CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County. “This really gives them a chance to engage in something positive when they’re out of school. We’re very grateful to Kaiser for supporting this program.”