Thousands of in-need children across Dallas will learn life-saving swimming skills in area apartment complex pools this summer.
DALLAS, TEXAS – For the sixth summer the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas Make A Splash program will take life saving skills to thousands of children in apartment communities. Make A Splash works to decrease the number of swim related fatalities in minority communities by providing swim lessons to children at no cost. The Make A Splash program, takes place in nearly 150 apartment community pools across North, South and West Dallas, Irving, Vickery Meadows, White Rock/East Dallas, Richardson and Plano.
Make a Splash is a swim lesson outreach program provided at low-income apartment communities. Many times children are left unsupervised in apartment communities around swimming pools. Using apartment community pools, YMCA Dallas staff actively engage and teach children from area complexes to swim. In 2014 alone, the Dallas YMCA offered these lessons at 142 apartment community pools where 3,500 kids were taught to swim by Certified YMCA instructors.
As part of the program, YMCA staff work directly with apartment mangement staff on how to provide a safe swimming environment including proper supervision, safety equipment such as self latching/locking gates and reach or throw equipment as well as maintaining clear balanced water.
“Nearly 60 percent of minorty children can’t swim and minority children are almost three times more likely to drown,” said Gordon Echtenkamp, President/CEO of the Dallas YMCA. “Safety in and around the water is an important issue for all children, but studies show that there are a disproportionate number of drownings among minority children. The Dallas YMCA is committed to children’s safety and helping parents to understand how critical these skills are to the safety and well-being of their children.”
In Texas, drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death among children. An average of 70 children drown each year, and for every child who drowns, an estimated four additional hospitalizations and 14 emergency department visits are due to submersion injuries. On the first day of lessons held in 2014, most of the children failed the basic survival skills test. However, after the children completed the lessons, a swim assessment showed 92% of kids could climb out of the pool independently, 69 % of kids could stream-line kick on their stomach with their face in the water up to 15 feet, and 79% of kids could jump in deep water and return to the wall. According to the Center of Disease Control, formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88%.
The Make A Splash Initiative, a collaboration with Childrens Health, will take place all summer at various apartment communities throughout Dallas.
For more information on YMCA swim programs, call 214-880-9622.