YMCA providing free swim lessons to underserved kids in Warren County

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 8:49 AM EDT
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LEBANON, Ohio (FOX19) - May is National Water Safety Month and the Countryside YMCA is offering free swim lessons to 100 eligible children.

The YMCA says it is committed to reducing drowning rates and keeping kids safe in and around the water.

The Y will be using money from a large grant they received to provide scholarships for swim instruction and water safety to children from underserved communities in Warren County.

According to the CDC, fatal drowning is the second-leading cause of death for children ages one to 14-years-old.

Countryside YMCA CEO Chris Johnson says because of all the COVID restrictions last year, there are children within the community who weren’t able to start or couldn’t continue swim lessons.

The Countryside Y typically teaches more than 4,800 children water safety and swimming skills each year. Last year, due to the pandemic, the Y saw that number drop to less than 2,000.

As part of national water safety month, the Countryside YMCA is encouraging parents to play an active role in promoting water safety.

The Y is providing these five tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable swimming season:

  • Never swim alone or without a water watcher.
  • Supervise your children whenever they’re in or near water.
  • Don’t engage in breath-holding activities. Children should not hold their breath for a prolonged amount of time while swimming, as this can cause drowning and has several other severe physical side effects.
  • Wear a life jacket.
  • Don’t jump in the water to save a friend who is struggling in deep water. Even if your child is a great swimmer, a panic person will overpower them, pulling the rescuer underwater. The Y’s Safety Around Water Program teaches the “reach, throw, don’t go” concepts of using a long object to reach for them and pull them to safety.

To learn if you qualify for financial assistance with swim lessons, contact Karla Toye at 513-932-1424 ext. 152 or email

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