Dr. Charles van der Horst Water Safety Initiative

Providing an opportunity for every child to be safe in and around water

By providing financial resources Swim for Charlie has created and will implement a water safety program based on a proven Learn to Swim model.


Swim For Charlie, in partnership with Orange County Schools and the Orange County Sportsplex, will teach 2nd grade students life-saving water safety and swimming skills.


Classes will begin Spring semester 2020


In his actions as a social justice activist, caring clinician, medical researcher, Public Health crusader, and philanthropist, Charlie was involved in many activities benefiting vulnerable populations.
In keeping with Charlie’s values, his love for swimming, and interest with youth, Charlie’s fellow swimmers and friends, inspired by his actions, have formed a nonprofit charitable organization in his name to make children safer in and around the water.

Learn more about Charlie

Drowning is one of the leading causes of death in children

No child is ever water safe. The goal of swim lessons is to make children SAFER in, on, and around water.

  • 10 people drown each day in the United States
  • 80-100 near drownings occur daily in the United States
  • 88% of childhood drownings can be prevented with formal swimming lessons
  • 79% of children in households with incomes less than $50,000 have little-to-no swimming ability
  • 64% of African-American, 45% of Hispanic/Latino, and 40% of Caucasian children have little to no swimming ability.

Orange County Sportsplex