Whelan's Whales to Help Inner-City Children Learn to Swim for Free

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Drowning is the third highest cause of death for kids between the ages of five and 14.

Robin Taylor, owner of the Brigantine Aquatic Center, is working to help decrease that number.

Taylor created a free program for inner-city children in Atlantic City at the Martin Luther King Elementary School.

On Thursday, June 7th, a launch party will be held starting at 5:30 p.m. to announce the program, called Whelan's Whales to the public.

“Thursday we’re going to have pretty much a ribbon cutting," said Taylor. "Of course, Kathy Whelan will be there, the late mayor’s wife ... to introduce the program to the rest of the world. We already know what it’s doing, so we want everyone else to see it." 

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The planning for Whelan's Whales — named for former Atlantic City mayor and state senator Jim Whelan — began eight months ago.

However, the vision for the program started along with the vision for building the Brigantine Aquatic Center, which began with Robin and her daughter Sari Carroll almost 40 years ago.

“We are over-the-top excited because it is something when we built this building 17 years ago, this is what we had in mind," said Taylor. "We want to teach children to swim and we want to reach out to do an outreach to the community."

The center is more than just a swim club, but also a place where Robin and her family look to change the lives of everyone that walks through their door.

“It’s something that we always wanted to do," said Taylor. "We love teaching the children that we teach all year long. However, it is so rewarding to get into the city where these children would never ever have this opportunity. It’s life changing for them and it will be life changing for the city." 

The original goal was to teach 60 to 90 students, but with the help of local officials, the number quickly grew to more than 300 applicants.

On Thursday, at Martin Luther King Elementary School, with her daughter by her side, Robin will see another part of their vision come true.

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