SARASOTA, FL – This month, the Sarasota YMCA continues to offer free swim lessons to up to 50 area children who would not otherwise be able to afford program fees. The cost for this life-saving effort is being covered by a grant of $3,000 from the YMCA of the USA.
The Sarasota YMCA designed a specialized program to help children of all skill levels improve swim proficiency and water safety. Instructors use the American Red Cross Swim Lessons and the Y-USA Safety Around Water curriculum, with a class format designed to help participants achieve maximum success based on a swim progression method to develop knowledge of water safety, survival, swimming skills and techniques. This ensures that children know what to do if they are in the water without adequate supervision.
The program, which is available for children ages 3-12, provides two lessons weekly for four weeks at both the Frank G. Berlin, Sr. and Evalyn Sadlier Jones branches of the YMCA.
“These swim lessons will not only help children survive in the water but also enjoy a common, affordable and easy source of fun,” said Sarasota YMCA president/CEO Laura Gilbert. “Swimming is a necessary skill for children to have – particularly in the Sunshine State – and can be valuable and enjoyable throughout their entire lives. We are grateful to the Y-USA for continuing its generous support of our free swimming lessons program.”
Southwest Florida is known for its beautiful beaches, lakes, rivers and plentiful swimming pools and spas. These abundant waters present imminent danger for children who do not swim well. In 2017, Florida was first in the nation with 51 fatal child drownings in a pool or spa for children ages 15 and younger. Florida’s grim total is twice that of the states tied for second: Arizona and Texas, with 25.
According to the USA Swimming Foundation, formal swimming lessons can reduce the likelihood of drowning by as much as 88 percent. The Sarasota YMCA is committed to providing highly qualified swim instructors and staff to help ensure children are prepared and safe around and in the water.
The Sarasota YMCA also has an ongoing partnership with Gulf Coast Community Foundation to provide free swim lessons for as many elementary school students need them. For more information, families are encouraged to contact association aquatics director Lauran DeLagrange at (941) 544-1780 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Sarasota YMCA
The Sarasota YMCA is committed to strengthening the community: through youth development by nurturing the potential of every child and teen, through healthy living by improving the community’s health and well-being, and through social responsibility by giving back and providing support to our neighbors. For more information, visit sarasotaymca.org or call (941) 951-2916.