Did you know that every day, about ten people die from unintentional drowning?

  • And, of these 10, two are children aged 14 or younger.
  • Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States.
  • The fatal drowning rate of African American children ages 5 to 14 is almost three times that of white children in the same age range.


It is the goal of the  MaxStrong Memorial Fund to service as many children as possible in our community by providing funding for:

  • swim lesson,
  • personal water safety instruction,
  • proper use of various flotation devices,
  • and water movement education,

and most importantly, possibly save a child's life.

Because the Hampton Roads region, especially Norfolk, is surrounded by water and one death by drowning, is one too many, partnering with the YMCA of South Hampton Roads made sense.  They have the track record and the ability to teach swim lessons. 

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The MaxStrong Memorial Fund was established in 2013 in honor of our son, Max Salzman, after his passing on April 24, 2013 from a tragic car accident. As a living memorial to Max, we were compelled to establish something in his name that would represent Max's kind heart and willingness to help others. The summer of his passing we created this annual fund supported through donations, grants and the annual MaxStrong Memorial Golf Tournament- all to ensure that traditional swim lessons are provided to Norfolk children who otherwise would not have the means to learn this life-saving skill. Not only did we capture the vision of our son, but also we created a significant contribution to the longevity and success of our organization- an organization that represents Max’s kindness and willingness to make his community better. Support for a swimming program aligns with this vision, and an impact in our community is made one strong swimmer at a time.


One death by drowning is too many. Because the Hampton Roads area is surrounded by water, especially Norfolk, this threat has a wide reach. We found a great ally in the YMCA of South Hampton Roads, which has allowed us to take our program directly to the Norfolk community.  The Y is equally focused on keeping kids safe in and around the water. They possess the tools, knowledge and ability to educate our children about water safety. Their staff is well trained to facilitate our mission, and their goals align with the MaxStrong Memorial Fund’s– to teach as many children as possible throughout our community to swim in order to reduce the likelihood   of drowning.

Annually, it is the intent of The MaxStrong Swim Program to provide traditional swim lessons, personal water safety instruction, proper use of various flotation devices, and water movement education to Norfolk children, all in accordance with the swim lesson curriculum through our friends at the YMCA of South Hampton Roads. Lessons are held two times per week for four weeks, for eight sessions. Because learning to swim is an individual process, certified   Y swim instructors evaluate each child’s comfort level and swim abilities, providing instruction personalized to his/her needs. Children are grouped according to age and skill level and instructors evaluate participants according to the YMCA of the USA’s swim lesson standards.

Though The MaxStrong Swim Program’s purpose is to instill valuable water safety skills, it also teaches kids about the Y’s core values of caring, honesty, respect, responsibility and faith, giving these children takeaways that last a lifetime.

The MaxStrong Memorial Fund targets children in underserved communities; the need for accessible swim instruction is dire.  We are a coastal community surrounded by multiple bodies of water; these children have easy access to the beach, bay, rivers, and lakes, putting them at a greater risk for drowning. Every day, about ten people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, two are children aged 14 or younger. Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States. The MaxStrong Memorial Fund makes it possible for any child to learn how to swim and be safe in the water.

Since we established the MaxStrong Memorial Fund, we know that collaboration; hard work and commitment has created this wonderful annual event dedicated to helping the children of our community by providing financial assistance to hundreds of children who NEED to learn how to swim.


Together, we are making a difference. Max’s legacy continues to grow with each lesson taught, and each life saved. 

Saving Lives by Teaching Life Lessons.

Mission: The MaxStrong Memorial Fund serves our community by ensuring that our children stay save in the water by learning to swim.