FLINT, MI — The YMCA of Greater Flint’s Downtown branch is reaching out to the community to help prevent youth drowning in Genesee County. On Oct. 24th, the Y’s members, staff and the Flint Falcons swim team will be taking to the pool to participate in the all-day swimming event known as the Swim-a-thon. This year, the Downtown YMCA’s goal is to raise over $3,000 with pledges they collect throughout the month.
“Being competent and comfortable in the water is such a gift and those who have it often take it for granted,” said Jim LaFave, Head Swim Coach of the Flint Falcons. “The Swim-a-thon is important to me and my swim team because it gives us an opportunity to recognize the privilege we have and give to those who do not have the same privilege.
Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death for youth in Michigan. Being in an urban area, there are barriers, such as lack of community pools, that prevent these critical skills from being learned. Being a community-driven organization, the Y understands how crucial it is to promote water safety to youth. We have developed programs like 4th grade Swim Safety program that provides an opportunity for 4th graders in Flint Community Schools to learn about water safety through classroom instruction and swimming lessons. In 2018, the YMCA of Greater Flint was able to send 315 children through this program. It’s through events like the Swim-a-thon that the Y is able to provide these transformative life skills to community youth.