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YMCA of Greater Houston Kicks Off Annual Safety Around Water Campaign

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HOUSTON, TX – As summer approaches, the YMCA of Greater Houston kicks off its annual Safety Around Water (SAW) campaign as part of the YMCA’s commitment to reduce drowning rates and keep our community safe around water. The campaign works to provide essential swim programs that empower youth, build healthier families and foster inclusive communities. The SAW program is entirely free and accessible to the community due to grants and generous donors and anticipates around 2,000 participants this year at various YMCA locations, YMCA Community Based Opportunity Centers, school districts and other community organizations.

The Y is grateful to its donors for their generous contributions and being an integral player for making these educational water safety programs and community events available to all. All Safety Around Water classes and programs offered through the Y are possible because of the financial contributions of donors and grant funding. This year, the YMCA of Greater Houston received grant funding from the USA Swimming Foundation, YMCA of the USA, Fort Bend County Jr Service League and Toyota Motor Corporation. 

 

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John Cooper School February 2022

 

“Each year, we launch the Safety Around Water Campaign to empower our youth, instill confidence in children and families around water and unify our communities,” says Stephen Ives, president and CEO, YMCA of Greater Houston. “With the support from generous grants and donors, the YMCA of Greater Houston will continue to provide access to life-saving programming through SAW and work to ensure security and comfort in the water for local youth and adults.”

Through SAW, children and adults can properly prepare for summer by engaging in water safety education courses taught by YMCA aquatic experts. The specialized courses include survival swim skills, safety skills, like CPR, and basic swim skills. These courses are different from the traditional swim lessons that are offered for the community. With nationally certified instructors and a top ranked swimming program that hosts one million students every year, the YMCA welcomes youth to not only learn important water safety skills but increase their physical activity and self-esteem, cultivate a positive mental attitude and learn life lessons such as sportsmanship and teamwork. 

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 ethnically diverse communities, the youth drowning rate is two to three times higher than the national average, according to a USA Swimming study. To eliminate these obstacles and unify the community, the YMCA partners with apartment complexes, school districts and other community organizations to ensure that children learn the swimming skills necessary to be safe around water. Currently, the organization has coordinated 15 off-site locations for swim safety courses and partnered with two school districts, Humble ISD and Spring Branch ISD.

 

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Educating the community on water safety and best swim practices has always been a part of the Y’s curriculum, and the organization will continue to respond and reinvent ways to connect with and meet the needs of the community. With impactful water safety education, the YMCA of Greater Houston looks forward to being the change, positively impacting the lives of our neighbors and providing equal access to important, life-saving skills for youth and adults.

To get involved in the Safety Around Water Campaign efforts, or to learn more about SAW programming, please contact saw@ymcahouston.org.     

Founded in 1886, today the Y remains committed to the health of more than half a million people grow and thrive through programs and services at our locations across Greater Houston. Strengthening community is our cause. Together, we connect active, engaged Greater Houston Area residents to build a better us.  

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