LONG BRANCH, NJ – Summer is in full swing, the weather is beautiful and kids want to swim! The YMCA of Greater Monmouth County is working to make that happen, offering free swim lessons and water safety classes for third- grade students in Long Branch at the city’s new community pool at Pleasure Bay Park.
“The Y recognizes that there’s a need for children to learn how to swim and be safe in and around water,” said Laurie Goganzer, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Monmouth County. “We are pleased to partner with the city of Long Branch and the Long Branch School District to provide Long Branch children essential water safety and swimming skills this summer.”
Sixty third-graders from Long Branch public schools are taking part in a two-week water safety program, July 20-29, at the newly opened Long Branch Community Pool on Atlantic Avenue. Funded by a grant from YMCA of the USA, the program includes swim lessons and basic swim techniques like floating, blowing bubbles, freestyle stroke, front crawl and other fundamental water safety and survival skills.
With drowning the second leading cause of death among children 14 and under, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the YMCA prides itself on teaching children water safety skills to reduce that risk. More than 1 million children learn to swim at YMCAs across the country every year and for that reason, the YMCA has earned the nickname of “America’s swim instructor.”
“We are very excited to be partnering with the YMCA to offer free swim lessons to our Long Branch school students. Offering free swim lessons was very important to our administration when we first made plans to open a pool. It is a vital, lifelong skill, that we hope these students will carry with them forever,” said Long Branch Mayor John Pallone.
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Markus Rodriguez, director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Long Branch Public School District, called the water safety program a “generational gift” that will impact the students and “hopefully provide a lifelong passion and appreciation for the joys of being a part of a community that counts the beach and the ocean and water activities as an integral part of life. We can’t thank the YMCA enough for doing this.”
As part of its commitment to social responsibility, the Y has long offered community outreach programs to increase water safety instruction in less served communities. Swim lessons and a variety of aquatics programs are available year-round at YMCA pools in Freehold, Red Bank, Old Bridge and Wall Township. Financial assistance is available for individuals and families in need on a sliding scale. For more information, visit ymcanj.org.