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Empowering our youth today is investing in a stronger community tomorrow. We know kids are excited to get back into the water this summer, but the risk of drowning is as prevalent as ever.

The YMCA of Greater San Antonio is offering tips for parents to keep kids safe in and around water this summer and launching a drowning prevention campaign to support our community. The Y encourages parents and caregivers to remind their entire families about the importance of water safety skills.

Two children die each day from drowning in the United States, and it is the leading cause of accidental death among children ages 1 to 4. While drowning can affect all children, it disproportionately affects minority communities. Sixty percent of African American children and 48% of Hispanic/Latino children are unable to swim. Many of these deaths are preventable by providing access to programs that teach basic water safety skills — programs like the Y’s Safety Around Water.

Research has shown that participation in formal swimming instruction can prevent drowning. The Y is the nation’s leading provider of community-based swim lessons. With more than 1 million children receiving swim instruction annually and more than 2,600 locations in 10,000 communities, the Y is one of the few organizations positioned to bridge the gap between the delivery of swim lessons and water safety education in the United States. Together we can help kids and families learn to be safe in and around water.

On May 21, the YMCA hosted the Splash of Joy event at the Mays Family Potranco YMCA with Poolcorp. We had over 65 children ages 5 through 12 participate in swim lessons and learn basic water safety at the event. A certificate ceremony followed, and all participants received a free swim goody bag, including goggles and a swim cap. Poolcorp is the world’s largest wholesale distributor of swimming pool supplies, equipment and related outdoor products. The company operates approximately 415 sales centers in North America, Europe and Australia, through which it distributes more than 200,000 national brand and private label products to roughly 120,000 wholesale customers.

Poolcorp shares the YMCA’s mission in water safety and drowning prevention. Earlier this year, the company donated funds that will provide 100 Lifeguard Training Scholarships and Safety Around Water lessons to more than 1,100 children who might not otherwise be able to afford to participate. By the end of 2022, Poolcorp will have donated $2.2 million to YMCAs around the U.S. to fund over 20,000 scholarships for swimming lessons and lifeguard training.

Our ability to help others thrive — and our reputation as a safe, trustworthy organization — depends on it. As a leading youth-serving organization and one of the country’s largest operators of swimming pools, the Y understands the importance of prioritizing child protection and aquatic safety. More than 100 years ago, the Y created the concept of group swim lessons, and we continue to teach more than 1 million children water safety and swimming skills each year. Swim lessons and water safety programs provide the most accessible community resource for drowning prevention. Today, we ask if you will help us give hope by ensuring all children have access to proper water safety training.

One hundred percent of donations go directly to financial assistance for swim lessons and water safety programs for youth in our community. Can you help us with a special gift to save a life today? As a YMCA Impact Partner, you can create an immediate, positive and local influence every day. By donating $21 per month, about the cost of a swim class, you can give hope to a young child or teen and help them build confidence and resilience.

The Y believes that every child deserves the chance to learn how to swim and experience the Safety Around Water class. Seventy-one percent of the world is water — and kids are naturally curious. That’s why it’s critically important for parents and caregivers to make sure they reinforce water safety skills with the whole family all summer long. Teach your children water safety and let them explore all their possibilities. Offer a child in your community the same opportunity by donating today.

To donate and learn more about how the Y is helping, follow us on Facebook or visit our website.

The YMCA of Greater San Antonio has worked to build a stronger community for 146+ years. The Y is one of the nation's leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living,...