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Summer is Coming, Let’s be Safe

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Posted: Friday, April 5, 2019 8:30 am

The couple in their forties was not embarrassed about preparing to take swimming lessons. “We’re retiring soon to Florida and will have a pool. We owe it to our grandchildren to finally learn to swim.”

Statistics provided by Tongelia Milton, Executive Director, Communications, YMCA of South Florida, are the type that startle people and sadly, Broward and Miami-Dade counties have the nation’s highest number of drowning deaths annually.

• Florida leads the nation with the most child drownings of all ages (under 18) by more than double the next closest state (Texas/Arizona); 80% of those involved children under the age of five – USA Swimming Foundation

• Three children die every day as a result of drowning - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

• 88% of youth drowning incidents occur under adult supervision - National SAFE KIDS Campaign

• 64% of African American, 45% of Hispanic/Latino, and 40% of Caucasian

children have little to no swimming ability – USA Swimming Foundation

• Formal swimming lessons reduce the likelihood of childhood drowning by 88% - USA Swimming Foundation

• If a parent does not know how to swim, there is only a 13 percent chance that a child in that household will learn how to swim - USA Swimming Foundation

• Children ages 1–4 had the highest rates of drowning and non-fatal drowning

hospitalization – Florida Health

• For every child who dies from drowning, emergency department

care for nonfatal submersion injuries - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)”

Swimming programs have long been part of the YMCA and “Swim for Jenny” supported by partners such as Children’s Services Council, Swim Central, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, and NBC 6 South Florida, enabled the YMCA to again offer free lessons during Spring Break. More than 2,600 children and adults in total signed up this year.

For Homestead YMCA Executive Director Sue Loyzelle, it was a busy, exciting time. "The Homestead Y was happy to provide free swim lesson to over 350

participants in memory of Jenny during Swim For Jenny week. We could not have done this without the support of our generous donors. It was incredible to see kids and adults in the pool who did not know how to swim and watch their progress throughout the week. Their fear of the water went away as they began to feel more comfortable and confident. Many have signed up for additional swim lessons so they can continue to develop their skills and learn how to be safe in and around the water."

The Swim for Jenny Program was established after the 2011 tragic death of Jenny Nguyen, who drowned while attending a party. Donations are accepted all year and can be made through the website: https://ymcasouth

Loyzelle and the Homestead staff are already working toward the next big event. “Please join us at our Healthy Kids Day, Saturday, April 27th from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Y. It’s free and open to the public. Healthy Kids Day is the Y’s national initiative to improve the health and well-being of families. The day will include free interactive activities, sports clinics, health screenings, family fitness fun, nutrition education, water safety demos, and a perfect time to sign up for summer camp and programs. Everyone that sign up for Summer Camp this day will have a $0 registration fee (that’s a $50.00 savings per child). Community agencies will join us to share their healthy living resources as well. If you would like a booth at this event, please contact

The Y is here for everyone and I invite you to stop by to see all that we have to offer from swim lessons to preschool, from senior wellness to youth sports, from personal training to homeschool PE, from summer camp to spinning and group exercise.”

The Homestead YMCA is located at 1034 NE 8th St, Homestead; (305) 247-0393

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