Kids In Everett Schools ECEAP Program To Get Free Swim Lessons From YMCA

September 12, 2023


This in today from the YMCA of Snohomish County.

Photo courtesy YMCA of Snohomish County

In partnership with Everett Public Schools and Puget Sound Taxpayers Accountability Account (PSTAA) grant program, the YMCA of Snohomish County is providing free swim lessons to all district Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) students, filling an identified need to support water safety for local students and families.
“Water is everywhere and it’s our mission to make sure every child in Snohomish County has the skills to be safe in and around water,” said Tom Wunderlich, Association Director of Aquatic Advancement, YMCA of Snohomish County. “Drowning is the leading cause of death for children, but also 100 percent preventable when kids possess water safety skills.”

The Y piloted a program with Madison Elementary’s ECEAP program during the 2022-23 school year, teaching 40 students to swim and providing parent water safety education. Its success prompted the Y to expand the program to reach even more kids in the community. This year, over 400 students from six different school sites will be eligible to receive free lessons. Lessons will be held at the Everett Family YMCA and the Mill Creek Family YMCA.

“Working with the school district to teach kids to swim is a great partnership,” said Wunderlich. “We get to connect with children and families who may not have had the opportunity to take swim lessons or learn water safety. We’re also building relationships which strengthens the community as a whole.”

Parent education will continue to be an essential component of the program. Parents will receive instruction on water safety, life jacket fitting, being alert around water and more at their ECEAP parent meetings.

“My goal is for every parent or adult to receive a Water Watcher badge,” said Wunderlich. “My hope would be that parents would wear their badge when around the water, committing to be the responsible, supervising adult. Adults can take turns wearing the badge, but having a designated person watching the water at all times greatly reduces the risk of a drowning tragedy.”

Although this program is limited to just Everett School District ECEAP students, the Y works with ECEAP county-wide in its Safety Around Water (SAW) program that is held every June. The program is funded by Y-USA and this past June over 600 kids participated.

“Introducing young children to water safety builds a foundation that will last into adulthood,” said Wunderlich. “We love the partnership and relationships we have established with ECEAP families and local schools and look forward to even more opportunities in the future.”

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