The world is 71% water—children are 100% curious! The South Amboy YMCA’s Safety Around Water Program, designed to engage children and educate parents about the importance of water safety skills, is being offered to all second grade students in partnership with the City of South Amboy School District.
Based on a grant received by Y-USA, this initiative is being offered at no cost to a minimum of 50 children from underserved families. Additional program costs will be covered through donations received from the YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge & South Amboy’s Annual Support Campaign. Children will learn two basic skills that will reduce the risk of drowning and give participants’ confidence around water: how to get to safety if they fall into a pool, and how to safely swim to safety without tiring.
“The Y believes teaching children how to be safe around water is not a luxury, it is a necessity”, said Rose Cushing, President & CEO of the YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge & South Amboy. “The Safety Around Water program can help children, families and adults make sure they learn essential water safety skills, which can open up a world of possibilities for them to satisfy their curiosity safely.”
Know the facts! Two children die every day from drowning. Statistics show that drowning remains the second leading cause of accidental death for children under the age of 14, yet many kids do not receive formal swimming or water safety training. Eighty eight percent of kids who drown are under adult supervision and 60 percent are within 10 feet of safety.
Through Safety Around Water, children will learn how to respond if they find themselves in unexpected water situations, from learning how to reach the water’s surface if they submerge, to safely reaching a pool’s edge or exiting any body of water.
Superintendent Jorge E. Diaz met with Karen Robson, newly appointed South Amboy YMCA Director of Operations, earlier this year to brainstorm ideas for programming between the two entities. “The YMCA continues to serve as a vital partner that dedicates itself to community outreach and support”, said Mr. Diaz. “We welcome any opportunity to offer a program that enriches the lives of our students. Water safety is a life skill, and it is especially important for our students who live near the Raritan Bay.”
Council President Mickey Gross and YMCA member stated, “As a waterfront developing community, we have a social responsibility to equip children with the tools they need to be confident in and around water. Every child in our community deserves access to water safety.”
To help support this initiative and other scholarship needs, the Y will be selling 50/50 tickets, with the winner receiving up to $10,000. Tickets are being sold now until the start of the fireworks show at the Independence Day Celebration starting at 4pm at the Raritan Bay Waterfront Park on July 3rd. Raffle tickets may be purchased at the South Amboy YMCA facility located at 200 John T. O’Leary Boulevard in South Amboy.
The South Amboy YMCA offers free community swim times, welcoming all, due to the efforts of the Y’s Annual Support Campaign. All guests are swim-tested by a YMCA-trained lifeguard. A YMCA membership is not required; however, a guest application is required. YMCA scholarships, funded by the Y’s Annual Support Campaign, are available for membership or programs. Call the South Amboy YMCA at 732.553.9622 or visit ymcaofmewsa.org for more information.