This month, the Sarasota YMCA continues to offer free swim lessons to up to 50 area children who would not otherwise be able to afford program fees. The cost for this life-saving effort is being covered by a grant of $3,000 from the YMCA of the USA.
The Sarasota YMCA designed a specialized program to help children of all skill levels improve swim proficiency and water safety. Instructors use the American Red Cross Swim Lessons and the Y-USA Safety Around Water curriculum, with a class format designed to help participants achieve maximum success based on a swim progression method to develop knowledge of water safety, survival, swimming skills and techniques. This ensures that children know what to do if they are in the water without adequate supervision.
The program, which is available for children ages 3-12, provides two lessons weekly for four weeks at both the Frank G. Berlin, Sr. and Evalyn Sadlier Jones branches of the YMCA.
In 2017, Florida was first in the nation with 51 fatal child drownings in a pool or spa for children ages 15 and younger. Florida's grim total is twice that of the states tied for second: Arizona and Texas, with 25.
The Sarasota YMCA also has an ongoing partnership with Gulf Coast Community Foundation to provide free swim lessons for as many elementary school students who need them.
For more information, families are encouraged to contact association aquatics director Lauran DeLagrange at (941) 544-1780 or firstname.lastname@example.org.