In preparation for summer, the Palomar Family YMCA is gearing up to train nearly 200 students in the Escondido Union School District how to be safe around water.
The YMCA offers Safety Around Water, a program designed to engage and educate parents about the importance of water safety skills and provide more of America’s youth access to water safety lessons. The program focuses on reaching underserved communities with a special emphasis on Hispanic and African American communities where risk of drowning among children is highest.
According to data from the USA Swimming Foundation, 60% of Hispanic children cannot swim, compared to just 40%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.
Through the Y’s Safety Around Water program, parents and caregivers will be encouraged to help their children learn fundamental water safety and swimming skills. During the four-week program, 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. These skills are vital to help prevent drowning rather than stroke development.
“All children deserve access to water safety resources and Safety Around Water is a great starting point to not only get kids comfortable in the water, but also develop a love of swimming,” said Lisa Norombaba, executive director of the Palomar Family YMCA. “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. Water should be fun, not feared!”
This program will be provided to the kids in the Escondido Union School District free of charge, thanks to donors who contributed to the Palomar Family YMCA during its Annual Campaign.
YMCA leadership hopes to be able to conduct this program year-round if funds allow for it. The Palomar Family YMCA team is beginning its Annual Campaign and encourages local leaders, business and families to learn more how they can support programs like this in the community by visiting www.ymca.org/palomar/giving.html.
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. Here in San Diego County the Y teaches 22,000 children water safety and swimming each year. 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 ymca.org.
About the YMCA of San Diego County
Visit www.ymca.org to find your local YMCA or call (858) 292-YMCA (9622).