Ridgewood YMCA 201.444.5600
Ridgewood YMCA 201.444.5600

The Y Helps Children Learn to be Safe Around Water

Ridgewood YMCA increases availability of water safety and swim lessons in underserved communities


[Ridgewood YMCA] – August 19, 2019 - As part of the Y’s commitment to reduce drowning rates and keep kids safe in and around the water, the Ridgewood YMCA provides the Swim for Life program, a free instructional swim initiative for children from Paterson, NJ.

Since 2001, YMCA trained swim instructors and volunteers work with children for 9 sessions over the three weeks in August at the Graydon pool. The Y runs the initiatve in collaboration with Citizens for Swimming and their Director, Dawn Walters, which works with underserved youth from the communities of Paterson. The program is funded by a grant from the Stew Leonard III Children’s Charities.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fatal drowning is the second-leading cause of death for children ages one to 14 years old. In ethnically diverse communities, the youth drowning rate is two to three times higher than the national average, according to a USA Swimming study. Additionally, 64 percent of African-American children and 45 percent of latino children have no or low swimming ability.

“We are thrilled to continue this program and create a bridge between urban and suburban communities. Educating children on how to be safe around water is just as important as teaching them to look both ways before they cross the street,” said Ernest Lamour, CEO of the Ridgewood YMCA. “The Y’ teaches children of all ages and backgrounds that water should be  fun, not feared, and this practice not only saves lives, it builds confidence.”

The Ridgewood Y has been a leader in providing swim lessons and water safety for more than a century.  The Y continues to help youth and adults experience the joy and benefits of swimming, so they can be healthy, confident and secure in the water. There are a variety of programs to choose from, including youth and adult swim lessons, competitive swimming, synchronized swimming, clinics and lifeguard training. To learn more about the Y’s swim programs call 201-444-5600.


About the Y

The Ridgewood Y offers programs and community connections that positively impacts lives through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, building spirit, mind and body for all.

The Ridgewood Y is a nonprofit charitable organization that serves youth, adults, and families founded on Christian principles and committed to strengthening our Northern New Jersey and Camp Bernie communities since 1902, as part of a worldwide YMCA. www.ridgewoodymca.org

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