The Gateway Family YMCA – Rahway Branch partnered with the Rahway Public School District to provide Safety Around Water, a program to engage and educate parents about the importance of water safety skills and provide more of America’s youth access to water safety lessons, to over 200 children in 14 elementary schools.
The Safety Around Water program began with The Gateway Family YMCA Aquatic Staff providing safety lessons as part of the classroom instruction at the elementary schools. The following week the Y offered the Safety Around Water Program with a discussion on water safety for families and a complimentary swim lesson for all preschool children in the community. The topics covered were pool safety, boating safety, beach safety, and choosing the correct personal floatation device.
“The Gateway Family YMCA has a goal of making swim lessons accessible to more children,” said Krystal R. Canady, CEO, The Gateway Family YMCA. “All children deserve access to water safety resources that not only could save their lives, but enrich them with an outlet for fun, healthy activity.”
Safety Around Water is an independent program designed to reach children at risk of drowning and teach them basic water safety skills. The goal of Safety Around Water is to teach children benchmark skills: jump, push, turn, grab and swim, float, swim. Safety Around Water is designed for all children, but it especially targets underserved populations who are at higher risk for drowning than other populations. While fatal drowning is a concern for all children – it’s the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages one to 14 years old – African American children ages 5 to 14 are three times more likely to drown than their white counterparts.
“Through Safety Around Water, parents and caregivers are encouraged to help their children learn fundamental water safety and swimming skills,” stated Melynda A. Mileski, EVP/COO, The Gateway Family YMCA. “During the program, children learn how to respond if they find themselves in unexpected water situations -- from how to reach the water’s surface if they submerge to safely reaching a pool’s edge or exiting any body of water.”
The Gateway Family YMCA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, health and community service organization of caring staff and volunteers dedicated to strengthening the foundations of community and stands For Youth Development, For Healthy Living and For Social Responsibility. The Gateway Family YMCA impacts the community by providing quality services to people of all ages, races, faith or incomes. The Y does not just strengthen bodies – it strengthens people, families and communities.
To learn more about Safety Around Water and The Gateway Family YMCA’s swim programs, please contact the Five Points Branch 908-688-9622 or the Rahway Branch 732-388-0057 or visit www.tgfymca.org.