Learning to swim is one of greatest gifts we can give our children

Brigitte Decato, a swim instructor with the Swim Safe program at the YMCA, works with Octavio Ruiz, 5, (center) on the backstroke. 2007  Laura Skelding AMERICAN-STATESMAN
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Brigitte Decato, a swim instructor with the Swim Safe program at the YMCA, works with Octavio Ruiz, 5, (center) on the backstroke. 2007 Laura Skelding AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Brigitte Decato, a swim instructor with the Swim Safe program at the YMCA, works with Octavio Ruiz, 5, (center) on the backstroke. 2007  Laura Skelding AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Brigitte Decato, a swim instructor with the Swim Safe program at the YMCA, works with Octavio Ruiz, 5, (center) on the backstroke. 2007 Laura Skelding AMERICAN-STATESMAN

I’ve written a lot about swim safety over the years. Find Raising Austin’s comprehensive tips story on water safety here.

It took my kids a long time to learn how to swim: fear of water, not enough practice, thinking they could teach themselves or didn’t need lessons, etc. But we were fortunate to have swim lessons at the camp they attended and at the parks and recreation department.

If you’re a family who is struggling with putting food on the table, it’s hard to find money for swim lessons. Fifteen years ago, the Statesman recognized the need for kids in our community to learn how to swim and started Swim Safe for Austin Kids. Last year, reader donations and a grant funded lessons for 600 kids.

How can you help us beat that this year? Swim Safe is part of Amplify Austin, which runs 6 p.m. Thursday to 6 p.m. the next day. You can give there at https://amplifyatx.ilivehereigivehere.org/StatesmanSwimSafeforAustinKids/overview. Or you can give at Swim Safe’s page http://community.statesman.com/swim_safe.php.

Let’s help Austin kids have a safe, happy summer in the pool, by the lake, by the beach or in the river.


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