AFRO OUTDOOR AND PARTNERING WITH YMCA TO RESPOND TO BLACK YOUTH DROWNING CRISIS EXPANDING “MAKING WAVES” PROGRAM THIS SUMMER

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Black youths are almost 6 times more likely to drown than white children

PORTLAND, Oregon., April 12, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — KEEN, Inc. (KEEN), the global footwear brand on a mission to make the outdoors inclusive and accessible to everyone, today announced its “Making Waves” partnership with outdoor afrothe nation’s leading nonprofit celebrating and inspiring Black relationships and leadership in nature, and the YMCAs, America’s leading nonprofit committed to building communities. According to CDC. A limited edition of the Outdoor Afro x KEEN sandal collection April 12 in support of the program and is designed to attract attention while helping to raise funds for Swimmerships™, scholarships for swimming lessons held primarily at YMCAs.

“These alarming statistics demanded action,” said Rue Mapp, Founder and CEO of Outdoor Afro. “We need to stop drownings and give children confidence in and around water. This is about saving lives and strengthening ties with our waterways and beyond. This is an important step in the right direction. direction. We are very grateful to our partner of a decade, KEEN, for supporting Making Waves over the past three years, and we are thrilled that the YMCA is adding its strength to the effort. It’s great to see it all come together. implement.

Outdoor Afro created Making Waves in 2019 with KEEN and the YMCA initially supporting a pilot program in New York, AtlantaCharlotte and Phoenix in 2021. The expanded partnership will now help Outdoor Afro expand into key markets across the country in 2022. Children and their caregivers can register for Swimmerships™ on the Outdoor Afro website starting this summer. Each Swimmership™ offers a new swimmer a complete swimming course of 8 to 10 lessons. Swimming lessons are held at local YMCAs and some community pools. Individuals can sponsor a swimmer on Outdoor Afro’s website. $10 = a lesson, $100 = a Swimmership™, $1,000 funds an entire class.

“The statistics speak for themselves,” says Erik Burbank, Vice President of KEEN Effect. “We are proud to support Outdoor Afro in this movement, and it is truly motivating that the YMCA is joining the effort. Having a partner who can help us scale the program over time strengthens our ability to create changes and have a significant effect on this issue.”

“As the nation’s largest and best-in-class swim lesson provider, the Y has decades of experience in addressing and eliminating the disparities associated with swimming,” noted the YMCA of UNITED STATES Director of Movement Engagement, Innovative Priorities and Water Safety Lindsay Mondick. “This initiative is the Y’s raison d’être – to have a meaningful impact on communities and create connective learning opportunities for all – and our expertise in water safety and drowning prevention makes this partnership a perfect fit.” .

Over the years, the YMCA has worked to increase swimming participation among black children and reduce drowning rates in these and other communities of color. Through public service campaigns, inspiring storytelling on multiple platforms, and a partnership with the CDC to explore and analyze the barriers Black/African American families face in swimming, the Y has made a difference in these areas. The YMCA’s commitment is to help all children become strong, confident swimmers and to reduce water-related injuries in every community.

The Outdoor Afro x KEEN sandal collection features artwork of the Outdoor Afro volunteer leader Leandra Taylor. Taylor has been an inspiration, teacher and friend to children eager to learn more about the outdoor experience. His art is incorporated into silhouettes for the whole family, including Newport H2 for men; Astoria West for women; Newport H2; and Stingrays for kids. The collection will be available at keepfootwear.com and at retailers across the United States, as well as select retailers in Canada, Europeand Japan. One percent of all sales will go to fund new Swimmerships™. To find out more or to register for a Swimmership™, please to visit.

Go to outdoorafro.com, www.ymca.org and www.keenfootwear.com/the-keen-effect/ for more information.

SOURCE KEEN, Inc.

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