The YMCA of Central Florida kicked off the summer season on Saturday, May 17, with a Splash Bash Celebration, where more than 160 minority youth received free swim lessons. The celebration, promoting water safety and water survival techniques, was held at four YMCA locations, which included the Wayne Densch YMCA, South Orlando YMCA, Blanchard Park YMCA and the Osceola YMCA.
According to the USA Swimming Foundation, about 70 percent of African-American children and 58 percent of Hispanic children cannot swim. In an effort to close this gap among minority youth in Central Florida, the YMCA partnered with Star 94.5 FM, the area’s leading urban contemporary radio station, to inform African-American families and other minorities about the accessibility of water safety classes.
According to the Academy of Pediatrics, swim lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88 percent. At the Y, swimming programs are available year-round for infants, children and adults. At the completion of the free 30-minute introductory swim lesson, Splash Bash participants received a water safety certificate and information on additional swim lessons.
As a non-profit organization, it is important that YMCA resources and programming are made available to the entire community. To ensure that swim lessons and other healthy living programs are affordable to all, the YMCA provides financial assistance to individuals and families in need. During the event, participants received information about the Y scholarship program and information about other youth development programs, including team sports, cheerleading, summer enrichment programming and after school care.