“Swim Safely Boston” Expands Essential Lifeguard Training and Equitable Access to Swim Lessons for 900 Youth and Adults

The Swim Safely Boston partnership launched in 2021 in response to the tragic rise in drownings in Greater Boston. The initiative increases bathing safety by providing free lifeguard training and job placement for Boston teenagers, which is imperative to operate safe swimming pools and facilities throughout the city. The program also expands access to swimming lessons, especially for those who have faced historical and economic barriers, offering free swimming lessons to children and adults at nine YMCAs across Boston and Umana Boston Public School in East of Boston.

“This summer, everything Boston residents need to feel safe and confident in our pools and beaches,” the mayor said. Michelle Wu. “I am grateful for the leadership of the YMCA in Greater Boston and the support of Blue Cross Blue Shield from Massachusetts and Columbia Threadneedle Investments Boston Triathlon for their help in providing essential lifeguard training and expanding access to swimming lessons for Bostonians who have never had the opportunity to enjoy the water.

At national scale, drowning is the leading cause of death in children aged one to four years and the second leading cause of accidental death in children aged one to fourteen years. According to the CDC, black children between the ages of 10 and 14 are more than seven times more likely to drown than white children of the same age.

Economic inequalities also persist. A report from 2017 commissioned by UNITED STATES Swimming revealed that in families with an annual household income of less than $50,00079% of children have little or no ability to swim.

“Swimming lessons save lives, and it’s part of the YMCA’s mission to Greater Boston to improve community health and demand equity for all,” said james mortonPresident and CEO, YMCA of Greater Boston. “We are thrilled to join municipal and business leaders in this program to meet the community’s growing need to train lifeguards and teach hundreds of children and adults to swim so they can enjoy life. safe water as summer arrives and temperatures rise.”

The YMCA is focused on increasing the lifeguard workforce by providing free training and certification in conjunction with BPS high schools. These training courses offer an excellent opportunity for the employment of young people in the city, while ensuring the safety of Boston area pools and waterfront areas.

“Providing water safety education to the community is a public health imperative, and we’re proud to support Swim Safely Boston so community members can enjoy the health benefits of water recreation,” said Jeff BellowsVice President of Corporate Citizenship and Public Affairs at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. “Swimming is a great way to exercise and stay cool during the hot summer months, and this program breaks down barriers to access and education so residents across the city can enjoy safe from our local pools and beaches.”

As the “American Swim Instructor,” the YMCA teaches kids of all ages and backgrounds that water should be fun, not dreaded, if you know how to be safe. Swim Safely Boston instructors emphasize cultural competency, including hosting community conversations led by the Boston Harbor Women of Color Coalition and providing Soul Caps, specially designed swim caps for natural hair, to attendees in the program.

“One of the main goals of the Swim Safely program is to reduce racial and economic barriers to lessons and to help people of color learn about swimming as part of an effort to reduce swimming accidents” , said Michael O’Neil, president of the Boston Triathlon. “We also hope it will spark a love of swimming and an interest in triathlon in those who might never have thought of it had they not had the opportunity to receive training and education in swimming.”

Classes are forming now and interested members of the community should reach out to secure a spot. For more information on the Swim Safely partnership, to receive swim lesson registration information, or to learn more about lifeguard training, please email [email protected].

About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts:

Massachusetts Blue Cross Blue Shield (bluecrossma.org) is a not-for-profit, community-driven, fee-based health plan headquartered in Boston. We are committed to the relentless pursuit of quality, affordable and equitable healthcare with an unparalleled customer experience. In keeping with our promise to always put our members first, we are ranked among the top health plans in the nation for member satisfaction and quality. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Youtubeand LinkedIn.

SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield Massachusetts

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Richard V. Johnson