Pool pass program expanded by county

LISBON — A public assistance program that provides free pool passes to families from targeted school districts has been expanded.

Columbiana County commissioners recently gave the county Department of Job and Family Services permission to continue with its summer pool pass program for a second year, with the Southern Local school district joining the East Liverpool and Wellsville school districts.

Under the program, students in grades six through eight at the three school districts will receive a free family pool pass they can use all summer at either the community pool at Thompson Park in East Liverpool or the Sadie Van Fossen pool in Lisbon.

JFS Director Rachel Ketterman said the pool pass program is part of their Summer Healthy Activity project, a component of its prevention, retention and contingency (PRC) plan, which is one of the JFS’ federally funded public assistance programs.

This program seeks to help lower income households overcome barriers that would prevent them from holding a job by providing them with a variety of services. One of the ideas behind the PRC plan — and the Summer Healthy Activity project, as well –is to help prevent adolescents in those households from engaging in so-called risky behavior that would impact their lives as they enter adulthood.

Ketterman said they hope the pool pass program will reduce the chances of risky behavior by encouraging families to go swimming together. “It gives them something to do” during the summer, she said.

Of the 600 passes handed out last summer to households in East Liverpool and Wellsville, 240 used the swimming passes.

“Jim Swoger told me last year he had not seen so many families at the pool in years,” Ketterman said, referring to the manager of the Thompson Park pool.

Approximately 840 family pool passes will be handed out this summer with the addition Southern Local students. The passes will be part of Summer Healthy Activity bags handed out to students in those grade levels at the three schools, and the bags include educational activities as well.

The memorandum of understandings approved by commissioners sets aside up to $33,000 in PRC funds to provide pool passes for the Sadie Van Fossen pool and a maximum of $80,000 for pool passes at Thompson Park.