Twin Cities YMCA Leads Swim Lessons for Diverse Communities

Updated: 07/06/2013 3:45 PM By: Naomi Pescovitz

Pools and lakes will be packed this weekend and with the fun, comes some risk. That risk, however, varies from person to person.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 80 percent of people who drown are male. Kids, ages one to four have the highest drowning rates.

Minorities are more at risk. The fatal drowning rate for African American children ages 5 to 14 is almost 3 times what it is for white children.

"Really it's about access. That parents don't have access to pools, safe access. And then the second piece is fear," said Lindsay Mondick, Aquatics Director for the Greater Twin Cities YMCA.

The Greater Twin Cities YMCA is leading the way nationwide in changing those numbers. They have been chosen as one of 7 programs to help develop a core "swim curriculum" for kids to learn across the country.

"There's 8 sessions of 30 minutes each and they range from basic water safety and teaching a kid to float on their back and get to the wall safely, to treading water," Mondick said.

In August, the YMCA will also start teaching lessons at apartment complexes in Inver Grove Heights and Brooklyn Park.

"We think that by going to the community we'll be able to serve and educate not only the kids who we have always served through this program, but also the families," Mondick said.

The lessons are free and funded through grant money.