The Y to Offer More than 33,000 At-Risk Youth Free Access to Safety Around Water Program 
During National Water Safety Month, the Y aims to help bridge the gap in the delivery of swim lessons and water safety education in the U.S.--especially in underserved communities

CHICAGO, May 23, 2018 -- Today, as part of National Water Safety Month, YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) announced they will award more than 33,000 scholarships for free water safety lessons to children from underserved communities as a part of their Safety Around Water program. The number of scholarships awarded has nearly tripled over the last several years, with 13,000 scholarships awarded in 2015, 18,000 in 2016, and more than 27,000 scholarships awarded in 2017.

According to a 2017 national research study conducted by the USA Swimming Foundation with the University of Memphis and University of Nevada-Las Vegas, 64 percent of African American children cannot swim, compared to 45 percent of Hispanic children and 40 percent of Caucasian children. Additionally, 79 percent of children in families with household income less than $50,000 have no/low swimming ability.

The Y's Safety Around Water program teaches children of all ages and from all backgrounds how to stay safe in and around water. In Safety Around Water, kids learn what to do if they find themselves in the water unexpectedly, from fundamental water safety skills, to how to swim a short distance on their front, roll over onto their back to rest, and then roll on their front to continue swimming to safety.

The Y teaches more than a million children each year how to swim through water safety and Y Swim Lessons and serves as the most accessible community resource to prevent drowning and encourage a lifelong enjoyment of swimming. As the inventor of group lessons in 1909, the Y is always looking for new ways to make swimming more accessible to all. The latest evolution of Y Swim Lessons accommodates students of varying abilities to help foster a sense of achievement as swimmers' progress between levels.

"The Y is dedicated to teaching all children the lifesaving skills to keep them safe in and around water," said Lindsay Mondick, Senior Manager of Aquatics, Y-USA. "Drowning is a leading cause of death for children 1 to 4 years old and we want to teach children of all ages and from all backgrounds that water should be fun, not feared. We are proud to continue our Safety Around Water for free to those most in need, and hope our swimmers develop confidence and a lifelong love of swimming."

As a leading nonprofit committed to youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y has been a leader in providing swim lessons and water safety for more than 100 years. 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.

About the Y 
The Y is one of the nation's leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 22 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation's health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. ymca.net

Contact:
Kevin Dietz
YMCA of the USA
312-419-8337
media@ymca.net



Wednesday, May 23, 2018

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