Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked 


If you have a question about our organization or programming that is not answered below, feel free to contact us.

Q: What does a quality learn-to-swim program look like?
Q: At what locations do you offer the program?

A: The City Swim Project offers swim programming at several locations. Some are open to the public, while others are open only to families that are members/students of the city/town/organization/school.

Q: What does it cost?

We offer free or reduced membership for families based on income or proof of financial assistance. To be eligible, provide one of the documents listed below with your registration application. For more information, download the City Swim Project’s Membership Fee Structure.

  • A copy of your current 1040 Federal Tax Return with Social Security Numbers removed, will be used to appropriately determine membership fee costs. If your household income is below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, lessons are free.
  • Swim lessons are free if a photocopy of an approved letter from a financial assistance program is provided, such as:
    • Aid to Families with Dependent Children
    • Social Security Disability Insurance
    • Food Stamps
    • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families
    • Supplemental Security Income
    • Women, Infant and Children’s Program
    • Medicaid
    • Children’s Health Insurance Plan
    • Section 8 Public Housing
    • Home Energy Assistance Program
    • Direct Notification Letter from NYS for Free/Reduced Lunch

If you do not qualify for any of the standards above, you will be required to provide payment for each registered child. Cost per child is listed on this link. Your adjusted household income on your IRS 1040 Tax Form will determine the cost of membership.

Q: How is the City Swim Project able to keep the cost to the family so low?
  • Afterschool programs (sometimes called OST or Out-of-School Time programs) serve children and youth of all ages. These programs encompass a broad range of focus areas including academic support, mentoring, positive youth development, arts, and sports and recreation.
  • The activities children and youth engage in outside of school hours are critical to their overall development, highlighting the need for quality afterschool programs in all communities. Nationally, the demand for afterschool programs is strong, with nearly 10.2 million children and youth who participate in afterschool programs annually.
  • Federal agencies, state-level resources, community organizations, and local and national philanthropic foundations sometimes provide financial support and resources to build, sustain, and ensure access to high-quality afterschool programs that can help promote positive outcomes for youth. The City Swim Project is such a program.
  • To sustain and grow our program, the City Swim Project combines funding from a variety of channels i.e. (public and private foundations, City and State governments and private donations from individuals). The funding we receive is contingent upon the policies and regulations of the administering institution, whether it’s a public agency or a private institution.
  • The local public and private agencies and philanthropic foundations that operate in Buffalo focus much of their philanthropy work/funding on youth academic achievement and empowerment—and for good reason. The youth will eventually be the citizens and leaders of tomorrow and ultimately make invaluable contributions to their families, economic growth, peace building, and sustainable development for all our communities.
  • The academic progress and positive outcomes of the youth we serve has a direct impact on the sources of funding that the City Swim Project can secure and maintain and greatly affects our program’s stability, as well as our ability to serve young people whose families cannot afford to pay fees.
  • Thus, the attendance, participation, academic achievement, and overall positive development of your child is vital to the success of our program and our ability to secure funding that will ensure our existence for the generations to come.
  • Help us to keep costs low or free by ensuring your child’s participation.
Q: What days do you offer lessons?

The days that lessons are offered vary based on the location. View locations and schedules.

Q: How often can my child attend?

One lesson per week is allowed pending approval of Learn-to-Swim Director

Q: Does the City Swim Project provide equipment?
All child learn-to-swim participants receive a swim cap, goggles, and swimsuit on an annual basis. Should a child need a replacement, it will come at a modest cost.
Q: How do you determine what level my child will be in?
New children will be tested by instructors and placed into an appropriate level during their first lesson. Children who have been away from the program for an extended amount of time will be retested upon their return to the water.
Q: How long will it take for my non-swimmer to become a swimmer?

A: Every child learns at a different pace. While each level of the City Swim Project has curriculum and benchmarks, no timeline can be provided to achieve swimming competence.

Q: What steps do I need to do after completing the online registration?

A: There are three steps that a family will need to do before their child can start to practice. 

  1. Send in the first page only of your 1040 tax return to our Executive Director at Please cross out all account numbers.
  2. Once that has been sent in, the family will be sent an email with information that their child will need to complete Team ACHIEVE’s IXL Diagnostic for all swimmers age 5 and over. We will also want their report card to be sent in. All information regarding our IXL and report cards should be sent to This is all part of our Team ACHIEVE program.
  3. Once that has been completed, another email will be sent that will ask you to complete a survey for your child as well as registering your child with USA Swimming.
Q: What is Team A.C.H.I.E.V.E.?

A: City Swim Project’s Team ACHIEVE support services is designed to promote academic achievement, social emotional learning, and character-building opportunities for City Swim Project swimmers. A.C.H.I.E.V.E. stands for Academics Can Help In Emotions, Values and Education.

The City Swim Project purchased a supply of tablets for swimmers to use on location during tutoring sessions before or after their swim lessons. City Swim Project offers free tutoring on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 – 7:45 pm at the William Emslie YMCA for swimmers in grades K through 12. If you would like to sign your swimmer up for Team ACHIEVE, please be on the lookout for the Sign-Up Genius. You must sign up each Friday before 5:00 pm for a spot. Please know that the tutoring spots are limited so make sure to be the first to sign-up!

Q: What is IXL Learning?

A: City Swim Project has purchased the IXL Interactive Learning education software to support math and ELA learning. IXL Learning software provides:

  • Personalized learning and guidance meeting the unique needs of each learner
  • Real-time diagnostics to assess what swimmers know and how to help each swimmer progress academically.
  • Comprehensive K-12 math and ELA practice at each swimmer’s own pace through fun and interactive questions, built in support, and motivating awards.
  • A personalized feed of practice topics based on each swimmer’s precise academic skill level
  • Up-to-date tracking on each swimmer’s academic progress
Q: What is the CATCH curriculum?

More than 10,000 schools and communities in the United States and abroad have adopted CATCH, a school health program that focuses on coordinating the efforts of teachers, school staff, and the community. CATCH promotes physical activity and healthy food choices for children from preschool through eighth grade and offers additional modules in sun safety for swimmers and e-cigarette prevention. Scientific studies have shown CATCH to be effective. More than 130 peer-reviewed scientific publications support the effectiveness of CATCH in reducing overweight and obesity. Compared with other childhood obesity interventions, CATCH is significantly more cost-effective. CATCH has an even greater impact when combined with community participation and Spanish translation in communities with many low-income students. One follow-up study showed that eighth grade students maintained higher levels of physical activity and better eating habits, which they began 3 years earlier as a part of the CATCH program. CATCH teaches children a simplified way of recognizing “go,” “slow,” and “whoa” type foods for their diet.

Q: What are the City Swim Project Team ACHIEVE requirements for registered swimmers?

On-site – 1 hour requirement

  • SEL/Sensory Motor Pathways
  • Nutrition/CATCH
  • Physical Activity/CATCH
  • Homework completion and/ or Help


At-home IXL – 1 hour requirement by Thursdays at 8:00 pm each week to receive a registration email for a swim lesson Fridays for the following week. Must email Dr. Baldwin completion screen shot by Thursdays at 8:00 pm each week.

Q: How do I obtain a USERNAME and PASSWORD to access IXL?

Contact Dr. Baldwin via email at and provide your child’s first and last name and current grade in school. A username and password will be emailed to you within 24-48 hours.

Q: What is the “real time diagnostic assessment” or “diagnostic assessment” in IXL?
  • Enables City Swim Project and families to pinpoint what your student(s) know and exactly what to do next to help them improve.
  • City Swim Project offers two diagnostic assessments areas for students to complete. One in math and another in ELA.
  • Diagnostic Assessments are completed by all students in the program at least four times per year.
Q: What are the City Swim Project requirements for my child’s report cards?
  • All families must submit each student’s school report card after each grading period or quarter
  • Report cards can be emailed to