Beignet Fest Foundation Funds Training for Adaptive Swim Lessons for Autistic Youth

NEW ORLEANS – The Beignet Fest Foundation and YMCA of Greater New Orleans are teaming up to provide more opportunities for adaptive swimming lessons for autistic youth. Funded by proceeds from the 2022 Beignet Fest, the Y’s aquatics staff will receive specialized training and a “Swim Whisperer” certification through the organization, Swim Angelfish.

Accidental drowning accounts for approximately 91% of total U.S. deaths reported in children with autism spectrum disorder ages 14 and younger, according to the National Autism Association.

“Swim Angelfish is a nationally recognized program and has been a driving force behind adaptive swim lessons for two decades,” said Taylor Oelking, executive director of Aquatics at YMCA of Greater New Orleans.

- Sponsors -

“We are thrilled to bring this specialized training to our Aquatics Academy with support from the Beignet Fest Foundation, allowing us to make at least 10 new swim instructors available for children with autism and like special needs this summer,” said Oelking.

Registration for swim lessons through the Y will open March 1. More information about diverse ability lessons can be found at

This year, the Beignet Fest Foundation is focused on the need for water safety programs with support for both YMCA of Greater New Orleans and Community Sailing New Orleans.

- Partner Content -

Entergy’s Energy Smart Program Brings Cost Conscious Innovation to New Orleans

Offering comprehensive energy efficiency at no cost to the consumer, Entergy’s Energy Smart program incentivizes Entergy New Orleans customers to perform energy-saving upgrades in...

“When we talk to parents, we hear overwhelmingly that families are looking for programs that allow autistic children to cool off and enjoy the water just as their peers are able to do,” said Sherwood Collins, founder and executive director of Beignet Fest and Beignet Fest Foundation. “The programs that we are supporting create inclusive, safe environments for kids to learn water safety and enjoy the surroundings of southeast Louisiana, which has vast water activities.”

Digital Sponsors / Become a Sponsor

Follow the issues, companies and people that matter most to business in New Orleans.

Email Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter