YMCA helps children learn to be safe around water


As part of the Y’s commitment to reduce drowning rates and keep kids safe in and around the water, the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina will provide scholarships for swim instruction and water safety to children from under-served communities. The Stokes Family YMCA is one of several participating locations in the area. Limited spots in the water safety program are still available. Participation is based on financial need.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fatal drowning is the second-leading cause of death for children ages one to 14 years old. In ethnically diverse communities, the youth drowning rate is two to three times higher than the national average, according to a USA Swimming study. Additionally nearly six out of 10 African American and Hispanic/Latino children are unable to swim, nearly twice as many as their Caucasian counterparts.

“Educating children how to be safe around water is just as important as teaching them to look both ways before they cross the street,” said Chris Chunn, Engagement Director – Aquatics, Youth and Teen Services for the Stokes Family YMCA. “The Y teaches children of all ages and backgrounds that water should be fun, not feared, and this practice not only saves lives it builds confidence.”

The Y is a long-standing leader in providing swim lessons and water safety across the country. The YMCA of Northwest North Carolina continues to help youth and adults experience the joy and benefits of swimming, so they can be healthy, confident and secure in the water. There are a variety of programs to choose, including swim lessons for youth and adults, competitive swimming with TYDE Swim Team, and more.

In addition to learning lifesaving water safety skills, children can increase their physical activity by swimming. Swimming also motivates children to strive for self-improvement, teaches goal orientation and cultivates a positive mental attitude and high self-esteem. It also teaches life lessons of sport and sportsmanship, so that children can learn how to work well with teammates and coaches and how to deal with winning and losing—skills that last a lifetime.

To learn how to qualify for financial assistance or learn more about Safe Around the Water, please contact Chris Chunn at c.chunn@ymcanwnc.org or 336 985 9622.

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