ROCKY MOUNT – The Franklin County Family YMCA is READY for its third year of offering the “Water Wise” swim program to every second grader in the county.
This program provides FREE swim lessons to second graders in all 12 elementary schools in the county. The YMCA does this because of the number of rivers and lakes in the county, the inability of many families to afford to pay for swim lessons, and the Y’s mission to help those in the community who need it. The program teaches lifesaving swimming skills and water safety because one of the single largest causes of childhood deaths is drowning, and many of those drownings occur within 10 feet of safety. The YMCA is proud that more than 1,200 students have participated and learned water safety skills over the last two years.
“In a community with two large lakes and numerous rivers, it is absolutely essential that we teach water safety for children. There is no other organization in our region that teaches as many children to swim as we have. In the past two years, this program has taught more than 1100 children to swim. We saw the urgent need, so we have done what we could to help the community, which is our mission” says Andrea Fansler Development Director with the YMCA.
Since 1998 the YMCA has been the leader in aquatics programming in Franklin County teaching thousands of children how to swim over the years. The Y also offers a competitive swim team and hosts teams from around the region at its local meets. The Y has even developed a full swim curriculum for summer camp and preschool children’s programs, something very few other childcare programs in the area offer.
“The second graders in the program are introduced to water safety and given swimming lessons over a two week program at the Rocky Mount YMCA. In addition to swim instruction children get free time to play and practice the skills they’ve learned and on the final day of a swim lessons, parents are invited to observe and celebrate all that their children have learned,” says J.T. Boyd The Aquatic Director at the YMCA.
This program is completely funded by the YMCA and its community partners, which in the past have included Rocky Mount Rotary, Centra Health, The Foundation for Roanoke Valley, American National Bank and a few anonymous donors, who have contributed more than $24,000 towards the program. Total cost of the program is about $47,000, about $70 to $80 per student. The Y asks for community support in the form of donations to ensure not only the safety of the county’s children but also for the sustainability of the program. Local residents, businesses and parents interested in donating should contact Andrea Fansler at the Franklin County Y, 540-489-9622.