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Tulsa Dream Center Aquatic Center grand opening

Posted at 4:13 PM, Aug 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-23 11:46:02-04

TULSA, Okla — The Aquatic Center at the Tulsa Dream Center is officially open to the public.

More than one hundred visitors came out for Saturday afternoon's grand opening celebration.

What started as an idea is now a dream come true for the Tulsa Dream Center with the opening of the Aquatic Center.

A dream aimed at saving lives, two years in the making is now a reality for thousands of kids.

The program director, Marquess Dennis, told 2 News, “a few years ago we had a story that broke where a young brother and sister got caught in a creek and they drowned to death. Pastor Tim just felt really compelled to try to do some research and he found out that African American children in our neighborhoods drown at a rate three times higher than anywhere else.”

The plans changed many times until the Dream Center staff were convinced it was the best it could be.

“First it was outside, then it became inside and then a splash pad. So it just kept growing in ways that we would be able to familiarize boys and girls with water with it being not so traumatic,” Dennis said.

Saturday that change came through a pool open to the community with free swimming lessons.

“African American children in our neighborhoods drown at a rate 3 times higher than anywhere else so as they were on a mission, they were doing a prayer walk and during this prayer walk, someone came up to them and engaged them and said hey what are we gonna do about this? What are you gonna do about these children that are drowning? How are we going to be able to teach our boys and girls how to swim?” Dennis said.

Dennis said the Aquatic Center is the work of countless donors and people who want to see the area grow and keep kids safe.

After two summers of short-staffed city pools, a new partnership means the rest of Tulsa will benefit too.

Dennis said, “being that we have this indoors, we now have partnered with the City of Tulsa to where we could actually train lifeguards so that during the winter months we can be training lifeguards, helping kids learn how to swim, but also being able to train lifeguards to send to the other parks when it comes summer time."

He said Saturday's ribbon cutting is another step toward achieving the Dream Center's goal.

To show kids all it takes to achieve a goal is to believe and work for it.

“The Tulsa Dream Center stands for giving hopes and changing lives. So absolutely, everything about this swimming pool gives hope to help change lives", Dennis said.

Dennis said the Aquatic Center will start taking sign-ups for free lessons in September.

For more information, visit The Tulsa Dream Center's website.

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