YMCA starts water safety program for the poor

The Greater Twin Cities YMCA is developing water safety lessons for low-income people in hopes of preventing drownings and luring more minorities into competitive swimming.

Minnesota Public Radio reports the curriculum calls for five 40-minute lessons. They’ll focus on how to recognize safe swimming environments, how to identify a lifeguard and how to kick to the side of the pool. The YMCA plans to take the program into low-income apartment complexes with swimming pools in Inver Grove Heights and Brooklyn Park and teach residents how to stay safe.

YMCA officials want children to embrace swimming and eventually compete on teams and work as lifeguards. Last year only 16 of the 7,890 Minnesota athletes registered with USA Swimming were African-American.