Drowning is the second-leading cause of death for children between ages 1 and 14.

Special to Iredell Free News

The YMCA of Northwest North Carolina increases availability of water safety and swim lessons in underserved communities

As part of its commitment to reduce drowning rates and keep kids safe in and around the water, the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina will provide scholarships for swim instruction and water safety to children from underserved communities across our Association.

The YMCA has been awarded $94,000 in grant funding from Y-USA for its Safety Around Water program. With this grant, the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina will serve 1,400 children across 14 branches. This is the largest grant for Safety Around Water that the YMCA of NWNC has ever received. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second-leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 14. 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, 45 percent of Latino children, and 40 percent of Caucasian children have no or low swimming ability.

“Educating children how to be safe around water is just as important as teaching them to look both ways before they cross the street,” said Stan Law, president and CEO of the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina. “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 YMCA of NWNC 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 at the YMCA to choose from, including swim lessons, Safety Around Water, and the Swim TYDE competitive swim program.

In addition to learning lifesaving water safety skills, children can increase their physical activity by swimming. Swimming also motivates children to strive for self-improvement, teaches goal orientation and cultivates a positive mental attitude and high self-esteem. It also teaches life lessons of sport and sportsmanship, so that children can learn how to work well with teammates and coaches and how to deal with winning and losing—skills that last a lifetime.


To learn how to qualify for financial scholarships, please contact Amy McCarter at a.mccarter@ymcanwnc.org.

About the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina

YMCA of Northwest North Carolina is a nonprofit 501(c)(3). The organization’s mission: “Helping all people reach their God-given potential in spirit, mind and body.” There are 15 branches located in seven counties — Alexander, Davie, Iredell, Forsyth, Stokes, Wilkes and Yadkin. The YMCA is for Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility.

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