Approximately 80 Edgemont Primary School second graders received free swim lessons through the Y's Safety Around Water program in May.
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 ethinically diverse communities, the youth drowning rate is two to three times higher than the national average, according to a USA swimming study. Additionally, 64 percent of African-American children, 45 percent of latino children, and 40 percent of Caucasian children have no or low swimming ability.
Funded by a grant from YMCA of the USA, along with contributions from the Covington Kiwanis Club, this program provided children with fundamental water safety and swimming skills. During the six-day course, children learned 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.
Plans to offer the program to Alleghany County Public Schools in the fall of 2019 are in the works. Both the Sharon and Mountain View Elementary Parent Teacher Organizations have made contributions to support the program for their students.
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.
If you would like to learn how you can support this program through monetary contributions or volunteer service, please contact Shari Peterson, Aquatics Director, or Jennifer Unroe, CEO, at 962-9622.