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DALLAS - Hundreds of kids are making quite a splash in South Dallas.

As part of their after-school program, the children get free swim lessons at the Park South YMCA.

It's really fun, said Micah Phillips, 10. I like it and it's great exercise.

But, it's not just about exercise. The program, which began in 2006 and now serves nearly 500 kids, is also about saving lives. According to Jonathan Price, the aquatics director at the Park South YMCA, 90 percent of drownings in Texas each year are children.

All they see is water and they want to get in a play, he said. So, what we do is teach them water safety, the different tools around the water they can use to help save their lives and others lives,.

The YMCA says 60 percent of minority children can't swim and are nearly three times more likely to drown.

We found a lot of times that the trepidation for kids for swim lessons is because there is fear in the family, said Rodrigua Ross, with the Park South YMCA. Once the kids come in, they overcome their fear and they can go back and tell moms and aunts and grandmothers about the fun they had and there is nothing to be afraid of.

E-mail cflanagan@wfaa.com

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