The Florence Family YMCA will award up to 100 scholarships to children in low-income communities for their Safety Around Water Program. The program is designed to give children swim lessons along with water safety tips.
Parents can visit the YMCA at 1700 S. Rutherford Drive in Florence to submit a scholarship application. Those who qualify will only be charged five dollars for a six-day course.
“We focus on our undeserved population in Florence. Kids who haven’t been a part of swim lessons before at all and who don’t know how to swim,” said Cindy Averitt, Aquatics Director at Florence Family YMCA.
The deadline to submit an application is June 12 and classes are set to begin on June 15. Classes will be held on Saturdays.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in five people who die of drowning are younger than 14. One parent put her young child in swim lessons after he jumped in the pool alone.
“He was fearless and didn’t care. He thought he could swim from day one, so that’s why I thought it was extremely important that he knew how to help himself out of the pool first of all and actually learn how to swim,” said Dorothy Krasias.
The six-day course will consist of learning how to respond in different water environments along with mastering basic swim techniques.
“Learning about rip tides and how to safely swim out of a rip tide, and about lakes, rivers and how you don’t know how deep they are,” said Averitt.