As part of the Y’s commitment to reduce drowning rates and keep kids safe in and around the water, the YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge & South Amboy will provide scholarships for swim instruction and water safety to children from underserved communities in their service areas.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fatal drowning is the second-leading cause of death for children ages one to 14. A study conducted in 2011 by USA Swimming found that in ethnically diverse communities, the youth drowning rate is two to three times higher than the national average. Additionally, nearly six out of 10 African American and Hispanic/Latino children are unable to swim, nearly twice as many as their Caucasian counterparts.

“Educating children about how to be safe around water is just as important as teaching them to look both ways before they cross the street,” said Susan Chanese, Aquatics Director/Water Safety Specialist at the South Amboy YMCA. “The Y teaches children of all ages and backgrounds that water should be fun, not feared, and this practice not only saves lives, it builds confidence.”

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The Y has been a leader in providing swim lessons and water safety for more than 95 years.  The YMCA of MEWSA continues to help youth experience the joy and benefits of swimming so they can be healthy, confident and secure in the water.  Students are taught personal water safety and basic swimming skills including practicing safe water habits, engaging in underwater exploration and learning how to swim to safety and exit in the event of falling into water.

In addition to learning lifesaving water safety skills, children can increase their physical activity by swimming. Swimming also motivates children to strive for self-improvement, teaches goal orientation and cultivates a positive mental attitude and high self-esteem. It teaches the life lessons of sport and sportsmanship, so that children can learn how to work well with teammates and coaches and how to deal with winning and losing—skills that last a lifetime.

To learn how to qualify for financial assistance, please contact Susan Chanese at 732-553-9622 or at susan.chanese@ymcaofmewsa.org.