Leading by example: Loria learns to swim

Loria Yeadon, the President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Seattle never learned to swim. Like many people of color, pools and learning to be safe around water weren’t accessible to Loria.

As a result of lacking access, the fatal-drowning rate of Black/African-American children is three times higher than white children. The Y is leading the charge of helping all kids and adults to be safe around water starting with Loria.

CEO of YMCA of Greater Seattle Learns to Swim

Teaching kids to be safe around water is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

The YMCA’s Safety Around Water program is an introductory program for preschool and school-age kids. This program helps kids learn essential water safety skills, which can open a world of possibilities to have fun and explore water safely.

Every day, there are nearly 10 accidental drownings in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s 3,500 people every year who die in water. Within these numbers is a startling fact: the fatal-drowning rate of Black/African-American children is three times higher than white children. Formal swim lessons have proven to reduce the risk of drowning by 88%. The YMCA of Greater Seattle is committed to removing barriers that limit all people from developing their full potential and that includes being safe around water.

Two Programs, Three Goals: Have Fun, Be Confident, Stay Safe

Safety Around Water

This program teaches children of all ages and from all backgrounds that water should be fun, not feared, as long as you know how to stay safe in and around water. In Safety Around Water, kids learn what to do if they find themselves in the water unexpectedly. Children learn fundamental water safety skills that include what to look for in a safe place to swim and how to swim a short distance on their front, roll over onto their back to rest, and then roll on their front to continue swimming to safety.

This program is free and offered at several local Ys.

Swim Lessons

The Y is “America’s Swim Instructor” and the most accessible community resource to prevent drowning and encourage a lifelong enjoyment of swimming. Each year, the Y of Greater Seattle teaches more than a 13,000 people how to swim. Formal lessons have proven to reduce the risk of drowning by 88% among children ages 1-4. While starting young is recommended, it is never too late to learn to swim.

May is Safety Around Water Month!

Contact your local Y branch for Safety Around Water times and scheduling plus find even more events happening in your Y community!

Check out events happening in the community:

Water Safety Resources