Unfortunately, drowning has been a neglected public health issue. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death behind motor vehicle crashes for children 1 to 14 years old. Research shows that there are two key barriers to entry that prevent children from learning to swim: fear of the water and lack of parental encouragement. Believe it or not, Michael was among those children who had a fear of the water. However, he was able to overcome that fear because of his parents’ commitment to enroll him in a water safety course and the instructor of the program had a unique approach. Today, we are proud to offer this same water safety program to a much larger audience, led by the very same instructor who taught Michael how to swim through the Foundation’s signature program – IM.See a full list of our clubs and teams
Around the world, half a million people drown every year. More than half of those victims are children. im safe provides each participant with the opportunity — and encouragement — to become comfortable, confident, and safer in the water.
IM Safe is a pre-beginner water safety program that provides entry-level swimming instruction. It is the official learn-to-swim program of the Michael Phelps Swim School and was used by Michael himself to develop his skills and confidence as a swimmer.
IM Safe offers water instruction and safety certification, as required, to ensure that all IM program participants are qualified for other water activities. IM Safe has three levels: Get Comfortable, Get Moving and Get Strong. Most participants will start in either Get Comfortable or Get Moving. In order for participants to be certified in the water, they must demonstrate proficiency in the necessary skills in a Water Safety Review. This consists of swimming from one side of the pool to the other, treading water, and other basic but important skills.
The Special Olympics Young Athletes IM program is about the initial introduction to the swimming experience. The environment and instructors need to be warm and inviting. Because of the short attention span of young children, moving quickly through skills activities will keep the class interesting. The manual accompanies a video, which is translated in six languages.
IM Fun is designed to keep water-safe participants of all ages and skill levels active in the pool, and to improve their in-water skills and confidence.
IM Fun creates an exciting, but structured environment that provides instructions and rules for some of Michael’s favorite pool games. From Marco Polo to Poison Pool Toss, these activities are designed to keep participants interested and engaged while developing specific water skills.
IM Fun is open only to participants who have successfully completed the Water Safety Review.
IM Fast lets program participants who have successfully completed the Water Safety Review learn the sport of competitive swimming and gives them access to high-quality, organized instructional training.
Through a coordinated training regimen of both in-pool skills instruction and exercises, experienced swim instructors further develop the swimmers’ overall fitness levels and help them reach their fullest potential. im fast’s has three skill levels — Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. Each level focuses on the development of individual strokes, starts, turns, lap swimming, and racing.
IM Healthy participants will learn the basics of healthy living, including eating right, emotional wellness, and being physically active. This interactive health and wellness program was developed by the health experts at Nemours KidsHealth.org. The eight mental health lessons are available to all here.
IM Healthy complements the swimming components of IM Safe, IM Fun, and IM Fast by showing participants how a healthy body can better achieve fitness goals. Participants will learn how to make good choices about what they eat, how much they exercise, and how they handle stressful situations. The IM Healthy program’s 16 lessons are conducted in a group setting. Each lesson includes an instructor’s guide and participant handouts for use during the lessons and/or at home.
IM Successful participants will learn how to identify and achieve goals. This program was developed by the health and behavioral experts at Nemours’ KidsHealth.org. im successful is based on the simple but effective Dream, Plan, Reach strategy that Michael has used throughout his life.
Using the Dream, Plan, Reach approach, IM Successful encourages bold, long-term goals while acknowledging that patience, planning, and persistence are integral to success. IM Successful also covers goals beyond those in the pool, such as improving school performance, learning a new skill, or getting along better with a sibling. Achieving a modest goal can serve as a blueprint and confidence-builder.
The IM Successful program’s 8 lessons are conducted in a group setting. Each lesson includes an instructor’s guide and participant handouts for use during the lessons and/or at home.
The Michael Phelps Foundation is proud to offer grant funding for our signature program, IM, to Boys & Girls Clubs and Special Olympics Teams from around the world.
2021 IM Program
Grant Details: The Michael Phelps Foundation and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America are looking to fund organizations to participate in one cycle (approximately 8-10 weeks) of the IM Program (summer and/or fall). Clubs are encouraged to continue and expand the program, as resources are available. We understand the need for flexibility due to COVID-19 and all Clubs should be following their local guidelines. We will communicate the status of training and grant implementation modifications throughout the process.
First-year Clubs are required to send at least one (possibly two) staff to be trained by MPF staff May 20-22, 2021 in St. Charles, Illinois prior to implementing the full IM program.
Funding will be provided for training and implementation up to $3,500 annually, plus travel.
If you are not able to provide the in-water portion of the grant, or if our in-person training is canceled, we are awarding up to $1,000 for the implementation of the IM Healthy and IM Successful grants.
SAFETY IS THE MOST IMPORTANT QUALIFIER AND CONDITION OF THIS PROGRAM.
What is the IM Program?
The IM Program offers a multifaceted lineup of water safety instruction, recreational aquatic activities, structured and organized swimming, and health, wellness and goal-setting education.
Each program provides participants with structured, age-appropriate programming as well as an opportunity to earn IM Program medals by reaching program goals.
How do I apply?
New Boys & Girls Clubs
If you are new to MPF and the IM program, you are encouraged to apply for a grant to bring the program to your Club. Please create a login and verify you are able to meet the eligibility requirements prior to applying.
Returning Boys & Girls Clubs
If you have previously received a grant, you must submit your current year Grant Report prior to applying for the 2021 IM Healthy program grant. Once submitted you will receive your funding, and be eligible to apply for a grant for 2020.