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The Y to Offer 18,000 At-Risk Youth Free Access to Safety Around...

The Y to Offer 18,000 At-Risk Youth Free Access to Safety Around Water Program


CHICAGO, May 9, 2016 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — As part of National Water Safety Month, YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) is awarding more than 18,000 scholarships for free water safety lessons (up from 13,000 scholarships in 2015) to children from underserved communities as a part of its Safety Around Water program.

Photo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160508/364935-INFO

Through the Y’s Safety Around Water program, parents and caregivers will help their children learn fundamental water safety and swimming skills. Armed with these skills, children will know how to reach the water’s surface if they become submerged, safely reach a pool’s edge, exit any body of water and respond to unexpected water situations.

While fatal drowning is a concern for all kids, children of color are disproportionately at-risk. The Y is dedicated to reversing the alarming statistics about youth drowning rates, especially in African American and Hispanic/Latino communities:

  • 3 kids die every day from drowning 1
  • Drowning is the second-leading cause of deaths for kids ages 5-14 2
  • African American children ages 5 to 14 are 3 times more likely to drown than their white peers 3
  • 70 percent of African American and 60 percent of Hispanic children cannot swim, compared to just 40 percent of Caucasian children 3
  • 88 percent of kids who drown do so under adult supervision 4
  • 60 percent of kids who drown are within 10 feet of safety 4
  • Participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88 percent among children one to four years old 5
  • More than 1 million kids take swim lessons at the Y every year 6

“Every year, the Y teaches more than 1 million children from all backgrounds invaluable water safety and swim skills. This year, we’re committed to addressing the disturbing statistics around fatal youth drownings by making free swim lessons available to more than 18,000 children in underserved communities,” said Kevin Washington, President and CEO of Y-USA. “It’s our mission to help mitigate the socio-cultural factors that inhibit today’s youth—especially those of color in urban communities—from receiving the potentially lifesaving skills to keep them safe in and around water.”

As one of the country’s longest-standing nonprofits dedicated to the nation’s most pressing social issues related to youth, health and community life, the Y is committed to working side-by-side with our neighbors to make sure everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive.

The Safety Around Water program assists in developing potentially lifesaving skills, by increasing knowledge, ability and stamina to build smart, strong swimmers and confident kids.

For more about the Y’s Safety Around Water program, please visit ymca.net/watersafety.

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS™). Retrieved from www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars
2. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. (2012). Safety barrier guidelines for residential pools. Retrieved from www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/pool.pdf
3. USA Swimming Foundation national research study by the USA Swimming Foundation and the University of Memphis. Retrieved from http://www.usaswimming.org/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabId=1796
4. Safe Kids Worldwide. (2007). Safe kids U.S. summer safety ranking report. Retrieved from www.safekids.org/research-report/safe-kids-us-summer-safety-ranking-report-april-2007
5. Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. (2009). Retrieved from http://www.usaswimming.org/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabId=1796
6. Contact [email protected] for more detailed information

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

Stephanie Cavataro
[email protected]

Ryu Mizuno
YMCA of the USA
[email protected]

The Y to Offer 18,000 At-Risk Youth Free Access to Safety Around Water Program