This summer, the Lawrence County YMCA organized a Learn To Swim program that would provide free swimming lessons to kids 5-14 years old that lived in the various Section 8 Housing Authorities across Lawrence County. Over the span of 2 months, we had more than 60 kids attend to learn the life saving skill of swimming! 

How Learn To Swim Worked 

The main goal of our Learn To Swim program was to provide children with the life saving skill of swimming in an easy and accessible way. Not everyone has the ability to get to our facility, and we wanted to ensure that any child that wanted to learn how to swim had the opportunity to! 

From Monday-Thursday, our Youth and Community Outreach Director, RJ Stewart, climbed onto the New Castle City Transit bus and drove to various Section 8 Housing Authorities such as Harbor Heights, Lawrence Terrace, Big Run, West Grant Street, the Neshannock Village, and more. Each day, a group of kids would board the bus and would be driven to our Downtown Facility! 

Once they were dropped off at our Y, they were taken to the pool for an hour long swim lesson! Our certified aquatics team spent time in and out of the water teaching the kids about water safety, how to tread water, and, eventually, how to swim! The kids were quick learners and enjoyed every minute they had in the water! 

After their swimming lessons were finished for the day, our swimmers were provided with a free lunch! Who isn’t hungry after a long swim in the pool? The lunches ranged from individual pizzas, chicken tenders,  ham and cheese sandwiches, mac and cheese, and more! Every meal came with a fruit, a vegetable, a milk, and a main course! 

After eating, our swimmers climbed back onto the bus with RJ and were driven back home! The drivers for the New Castle Transit Authority were so incredibly kind and patient, they truly made our Learn to Swim program possible! 

The Importance of Water Safety

At the end of the day, over 60 kids learned how to swim at our Learn to Swim program this summer and that is more than we could have ever imagined. We want to emphasize the importance of water safety and how crucial it is to know how to swim. Providing this free program gave us the opportunity to not only meet an amazing group of kids, but to teach them a skill that could potentially save a life someday. 

In the US, an average of 3,500 to 4,000 people drown per year. That is an average of 10 fatal drownings per day. Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1-4. Drowning remains in the top 5 causes of unintentional injury-related death from birth to 5 years old. Water safety is crucial for individuals of any age.