Free swimming lessons for the kids, brought to your apartment complex

Sonia Azad has more on Safety Around Water, a YMCA program aimed at swim safety for kids

Forty percent of children who drown have either wandered outside unsupervised or fallen into a community pool.

If you live in an apartment complex, the YMCA will bring the lessons to you for free.

At Santa Fe Trails in Vickery Meadows, the sounds of splashing mean summer has arrived.

"We do lessons two days a week either Tuesday, Thursday --  or Wednesday, Friday," said Dustin Davis with the YMCA of Rockwall.

On this day, the children at this particular apartment community are learning how to swim, thanks to the YMCA program called Safety Around Water.

"We're teaching them to swim on their stomach, float on their back ... and our goal is that every child can swim 15 feet," explained Jennifer Pewitt, YMCA Associate Vice President for Aquatics.

Safety Around Water started in 2010 at 12 apartments with 350 kids. By 2016, the program grew to 78 apartment communities across North Texas with YMCA instructors teaching over 4,000 children how to swim.

"Especially in these communities where there's no lifeguards and there's no safeguards in the water, teaching these kids the simple, basic safe swimming skills allows us to really make an impact," said Pewitt.

The impact is significant -- especially in lower-income communities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, minority children are 5.5 times more likely to drown. African-American boys, age 10, drown 10 times more often than white boys.

The folks at the YMCA picked up on one more way they could help children during their swim lessons.

"We noticed in the first few years of this program that children come and swim in their clothes," said Pewitt.

So, YMCA leadership called on the community for donations and have given away free swimsuits ever since, with help from corporate sponsors and neighbors.

To learn more about the YMCA's Safety Around Water program, or to invite their water safety experts to your apartment community: Visit www.ymcadallas.org or call (214) 880-9622.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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