YMCA teams up with Florida Blue Foundation to expand Water Safety classes to an additional 5500 Tampa Bay area families

August 20, 2018

The YMCA Safety Around Water program continues to expand in the Tampa Bay area thanks to the Florida Blue Foundation and a collaborative effort between five YMCA associations. In spring 2019, the program will expand at more than 30 area YMCA locations, reaching 5,500 youth ages 3 – 12, from Citrus to Sarasota counties.

Statistics show that drowning remains the leading cause of unintended, injury-related death for children ages 1 - 5, and the second leading cause of accidental death for children under 14. According to research, participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88 percent among children ages 1 – 4.

The Y and Florida Blue Foundation believe teaching children how to be safe around water is not a luxury; it is a necessity. The Safety Around Water program helps children, families and adults learn essential water safety skills, which can be lifesaving.

“One of the perks of living in Tampa Bay is the abundance of water that surrounds us. From oceans to springs to pools, it’s a part of our life each day,” said David Pizzo, Florida Blue market president for West Florida. “Unfortunately, it can also be extremely hazardous for young children. As part of our mission to help people and communities achieve better health, we’re proud to support the YMCA’s work to equip young children and their families with essential water safety skills.”

The generous grant from the Florida Blue Foundation will assist the Y in providing children and families basic swimming skills to help them stay safe at home, by the pool, on a boat and at the beach. Led by certified instructors, YMCA Water Safety classes aim to reduce the risk of drowning and give participants confidence both in and around water. 

“Learning to swim is an invaluable tool with the power to save a life. The Y is committed to making sure all children have the opportunity to access these lifesaving courses,” said David Jezek, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg.

This program is FREE and open to all in the community. A YMCA membership is not required; pre-registration is required due to limited space. Times will vary based on location. For more information on how to attend, call your local Y. Participating YMCA associations include the YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg, Manatee YMCA, Sarasota YMCA, Tampa Metropolitan YMCA and the YMCA of the Suncoast.


About the Y

As the leading non-profit committed to strengthening community, the Y is a cause-driven, charitable organization that stands for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.


About Florida Blue Foundation

Florida Blue Foundation enables healthy communities by making grants, building coalitions and rewarding best practices. More than three million people in Florida have received direct health services as a result of grants made to nonprofit organizations since its founding in 2001. Florida Blue Foundation is a trade name of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation, Inc., an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information about the Foundation, please visit www.FloridaBlueFoundation.com. Florida Blue and the Florida Blue Foundation are on Facebook and Twitter.