YMCA gives swim­ming lessons for kids

Dorchester Star - - News -

CAM­BRIDGE — The Dorch­ester Fam­ily YMCA in Cam­bridge gave 21 chil­dren swim­ming lessons in July and Au­gust.

When Dorch­ester Fam­ily YMCA Board Mem­ber Dr. MaryAnn Moore wanted the YMCA to reach out to chil­dren who may not be able to af­ford swim lessons, a part­ner­ship was formed.

The chil­dren came from the New Be­gin­nings pro­gram and were bused over once a week by the YMCA.

Nu­mer­ous vol­un­teers, in­clud­ing some Cam­bridge City Po­lice, taught the chil­dren the skills they need in the water at the YMCA. The vol­un­teers come from all walks of life but are united in their pas­sion for aquat­ics and safety.

The YMCA has been in­volved in this type of class be­fore. Ev­ery May, the YMCA teaches third graders water safety.

Dorch­ester YMCA Aquat­ics Di­rec­tor Bar­bara Wheat­ley said the new pro­gram, Swim for Life, fo­cuses on how to re­spond if a youth or a friend finds them­selves in a po­si­tion in the water where they are not safe. She said also float­ing in the water, dog pad­dling and keeping their heads above the water are taught.

Wheat­ley said her fa­vorite part of teach­ing swim­ming is watch­ing the joy on some­one’s face when they re­al­ize they can do some­thing they once thought im­pos­si­ble. She said con­quer­ing fear is great for self-es­teem and is up­lift­ing for all in­volved. She said the YMCA hopes to ex­tend the pro­gram and teach even more kids in the near fu­ture.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

The Dorch­ester YMCA in Cam­bridge gave swim­ming lessons to 21 chil­dren in July and Au­gust.

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