YMCA of Metropolitan Lansing’s Safety Around Water program helps Lansing community kids
Thursday, July 14, 2016
Posted by: Eric Dimoff
Water safety lessons offered at YMCA of Metropolitan Lansing
The YMCA of Metropolitan Lansing offers the Lansing Learn to Swim program, a Safety Around Water (S.A.W.) based program curriculum designed to engage and educate parents and youth about the importance of water safety skills and provide more of Lansing’s youth access to water safety lessons. This is a collaborative effort with Lansing Community College to target our most at-risk communities. The curriculum focuses on reaching underserved communities with a special emphasis on African American and Hispanic children in Lansing where risk of drowning among children is highest.
According to data from the USA Swimming Foundation, 70 percent of African American and 60 percent of Hispanic children cannot swim, compared to just 40 percent of Caucasian children. While fatal drowning is a concern for all children – it’s the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages one to 14 years old – African American children ages 5 to 14 are three times more likely to drown than their white counterparts.
Through Safety Around Water, parents and caregivers will be encouraged to help their children learn fundamental water safety and swimming skills. During the eight-session course, children will learn how to respond if they find themselves in unexpected water situations -- from how to reach the water’s surface if they submerge to safely reaching a pool’s edge or exiting any body of water.
“All children deserve access to water safety resources and the Lansing Learn to Swim Program is a great starting point to not only get kids comfortable in the water, but also develop a love of swimming,” said Jeff Scheibel, CEO of YMCA of Metropolitan Lansing. “In many underserved communities, staying safe around water means keeping kids away from water, but water safety and swimming are important life skills that need fostering in all children”
To help achieve its goal to make swim lessons more accessible for all children, this year the Y Lansing will provide free water safety lessons to 500 children in high-risk and underserved communities in Lansing.
The Y introduced the concept of group swim lessons in 1909. Now, each year in 2,200 pools across the country, the Y teaches more than a million children from all backgrounds invaluable water safety and swim skills. In the Lansing community, the Y taught over 500 children water safety and swimming lessons. Through Safety Around Water, the Y hopes to further bridge cultural and access gaps that can prevent some children from learning important water safety skills.
Families interested in learning more about Safety Around Water and how to enroll their child in local Y swimming and water safety classes should visit www.ymca.net/watersafety.