ROCKY MOUNT – The Y’s second grade swim program is about to enter its fourth year of providing water safety and swim lessons to all public school second
graders, free of charge. The program is provided as a means of ensuring that all county youth are able to stay safe around local lakes, rivers and pools, and to avoid drowning in a water emergency.
“As someone who almost drowned as a kid I understand how important it is for students to learn basic water safety,” says Kameron Kitts, Aquatics Director at the YMCA.
This year the Y plans to teach up to 600 second graders in the SAW, or safety around water program. The Y hires additional aquatics instructors and lifeguards, in addition to its normal aquatics staff, to provide high quality instruction in a safe environment. To offset these additional expenses, the Y has been running a special campaign to raise funds.
“It’s a big program and requires community support to make it happen. We’ve had some great sponsors and support already this year but have a little farther to go to fully fund the program,” says Kitts.
Nationally, drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death, and one of every five fatal drownings is a child 14yrs or younger. Up to 70% of second graders in Franklin County aren’t able to pass the introductory swim test, which means that they wouldn’t be able to save themselves in a water emergency. By the end of the two week program, 88% of the students are able to float for 30 seconds or more or swim a 5 foot distance, which is
statistically proven to save lives.
Donations to the program can be made through the Franklin County YMCA’s website or mailed to P.O. Box 720, Rocky Mount VA 24151. All donations to the Y and this program are tax deductible.
“We’re looking forward to another year with the county’s second graders and hope the community will help support this vital program,” says Kitts.