The Hillsborough County Children’s Board is working to eliminate child drowning with its mobile swim lessons.
- Goal is to teach almost 400 kids to swim at 16 different sites
- Program offers: swimming lessons, water safety courses, CPR training
- If your community is interested in hosting this program, contact Ginger Upshaw at firstname.lastname@example.org
In the past four years, 32 children have tragically lost their lives due to accidental drowning in Tampa Bay area.
Statistics show children who receive formal swimming lessons have an 88 percent less chance at accidentally drowning.
But for some families, getting their kids to swimming lessons can be tough.
"We have tried in the past and it’s been very, very difficult with the schedules,” mom Barbara Colon said.
But Colon was finally able to get her 9-year-old and 6-year-old the swimming lessons they need thanks to the mobile lessons.
A team from the Tampa Metropolitan YMCA came to their neighborhood pool for five consecutive days.
"We live in the neighborhood and it was the perfect schedule because I work in the evenings and the summer time slot was just ideal and they come to us so it’s very, very easy,” Colon said.
The Children’s Board is partnering with the Tampa Metropolitan YMCA, St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center, the City of Tampa Parks and Recreation and the Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Foundation to reach a goal of teaching almost 400 kids to swim at 16 different sites.
The program offers swimming lessons, water safety courses and CPR training.
"If coming to our facilities is a barrier then we are going to take the barrier away,” said Amanda Walker, aquatics executive for the Tampa Metropolitan YMCA. “We are going to come to your backyard, where you live, to make sure this program, mobile lessons and water safety education is available for children, parents and caretakers to take away those barriers.”
"I have been practicing floating and how to breathe underwater,” 9-year-old Alexa Colon said. "If I accidentally go to the deep side I will know how to float."
The swimming lessons are giving Colon piece of mind for next time her family goes to the beach.
"I will still be hesitant keeping an eye on them but at least I will feel more relaxed getting a soda and not being worried that something will happen in those five seconds I wasn’t looking,” said Colon.