A Splash of Confidence



As part of our commitment to reduce drowning rates and keep kids safe in and around the water, the Tampa Y will provide free water safety and swim lessons for students from two local Title I schools. As a part of the Safety Around Water program, the YMCA of the USA recently awarded us with a $6,000 grant to provide free water safety lessons to children from Mort Elementary School in New Tampa and Lacoochee Elementary School in Pasco County. Most of the students who attend these schools come from low-income families.


Data shows children from low-income families are four times more likely to drown. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 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.


The Y’s Safety Around Water program teaches children of all ages and backgrounds that water should be fun, not feared, if you know how to stay safe in and around water. Additionally, Safety Around Water educates parents about the importance of water safety lessons. “Educating children how to be safe around water is just as important as teaching them to look both ways before they cross the street,” says Association Aquatics Experience Executive Amanda Walker.


In addition to providing swim scholarships to those in need, the Tampa Y reaches more vulnerable populations with a Head Start collaboration with Hillsborough County and the Go for Green program, which offers free swim lessons to Y summer campers unable to pass the swim test. Go for Green is made possible thanks to the Tampa Bay Rays.


Likewise, Y Swim Lessons continue to evolve to better meet community needs. The latest evolution accommodates students of varying abilities to help foster a sense of achievement. Through this approach, advanced swimmers flow more easily to higher levels while swimmers who need more instruction can learn at their own pace. The results are more confident swimmers who stick with lessons and develop a lifelong love for swimming.


In all Y swim programs, people of all ages can enjoy water sports, enhance or learn new techniques, meet new friends and develop confidence, while also learning safety skills that save lives. To learn how to qualify for financial assistance, please contact your local Y.

Pictured above: Y Swim Lessons now accommodate varying abilities to help foster a sense of achievement as swimmers’ progress between levels. The results are more confident swimmers who stick with lessons and develop a love for swimming that can last a lifetime. 

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