Nyc Second Graders Make A Splash At First Day Of Swim For Life
Today, more than 3,500 New York City second graders made a splash at pools across the city for their first day ofSwim for Life. A series of free, ten-week sessions, Swim for Life intends to reduce the high incidence of drowning, particularly among minority children, by teaching vital water safety skills and promoting lifelong fitness habits. Each program consists of one hour of swim instruction per week as part of the school day, and culminates in a swim evaluation to ensure that students have successfully learned basic skills. Sessions run from October to June in all five boroughs.
The lessons, taught by certified Aquatics staff, begin with a discussion of topics ranging from basic pool rules such as "no running on the deck," to the roles of swim instructors and lifeguards, to the use of equipment such as kickboards and pull buoys. Afterward, the children divide into small groups according to ability, and begin learning basic swim strokes, buoyancy, and treading techniques with experienced instructors.
Swim for Life is dramatically changing the way public agencies and private organizations work together to benefit NYC school kids. The program relies on the support of a number of groups, including NYC Parks, the YMCA of Greater New York, Asphalt Green, the NYC Department of Education, the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club, and others for access to indoor pool facilities and professional swim instructors. Swim for Life is funded by public and private monies. The generosity of individual donors, corporations, and foundations has delivered over $1.1 million sinceSwim for Life's inception. More is needed to meet the long-term goal of teaching basic water safety skills to all 70,000 second grade students in NYC's public schools.
In the United States, accidental drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among kids under the age of 14, with drowning incidences disproportionately impacting minority children. Since launching in January 2011, Swim for Life has reached more than 27,500 students in more than 193 public elementary schools, and has partnered with 35 indoor pools across New York City, including 10 pools operated by NYC Parks.