The initiative was started after data collected by the USA Swimming Foundation indicated that 70 percent of African American and 60 percent of Hispanic children cannot swim. The data further states that fatal drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury related death and that African American children between the ages of 5 and 14 are three times as likely than their non (African American) white counterparts.
The YMCA’s aim is to provide communities with the tools necessary to promote children’s confidence in and around water in an effort to promote the health benefits of exercise, provide bonding opportunities for families and friends, and instill a sense of accomplishment when they acquire new skills.
The program teaches children fundamental water safety skills, CPR, and what to look for in a safe place to swim.
The program will be formed into an 8 session course that includes:
- Exercises to help kids adjust to being in the water.
- Skill sets children should use if they unexpectedly find themselves in water.
- Specific safety topics.
- Interactive activities that reinforce the learned skills.
In addition, the YMCA will provide 13,000 scholarships for free swim lessons to low-income communities.
For more information, visit YMCA.
This post was written by Reginald Calhoun, editorial assistant for the Burton Wire. He is a senior Mass Media Arts major at Clark Atlanta University. Follow him on Twitter @IRMarsean.