DATE: April 30, 2013
MEDIA CONTACT: Michael Mills
May Is Water Safety Awareness Month, as well as the month SWIM Central marks a significant milestone – 2.5 million water-safety lessons taught since the program was established in 1999. More than 400,000 children have participated in this nationally recognized water-safety program.
Drowning is the number-one killer of children under the age of 4 throughout the United States. Since its inception, SWIM Central has aimed to reduce the number of drowning incidents in Broward County. The solution has been to provide up to 10 water-safety education lessons per year to children who are enrolled in public schools, day-care centers, and preschools throughout Broward County.
“SWIM Central is unlike any program in the country,” says Program Manager Jay Sanford. “By coordinating transportation and putting children in the water during the school day, we are able to give those children the life skills they need to prevent these tragic incidents. We have an incredible track record of success with SWIM Central, but we are still losing toddlers every year because their parents either don’t know or haven’t taken the steps to protect them from these dangers. We are trying to change that, and we need the community’s support and participation.”
As it has grown, SWIM Central has evolved into more than water-safety education classes for schoolchildren. With the introduction of program mascot Sandy Pelican, SWIM Central has become more active in community events that promote drowning prevention, sending representatives to provide on-site water-safety presentations at schools and day-care centers. This expands the program’s reach beyond those 30,000 children who annually receive in-water instruction.
This summer, with support from its partner the S.W.I.M.S. Foundation, SWIM Central will launch the SWIMS Summer Program in several pools throughout Broward County, providing additional water-safety, CPR, first aid, and swimming instruction for children ages 7 to 13.
Along with support from the S.W.I.M.S. Foundation, SWIM Central gets its funding from the Children’s Services Council of Broward County, the Broward County Commission, and the School Board of Broward County.
For further information, call SWIM Central at 954-357-7946.
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Founded in February 1956 and accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies, Broward County Parks and Recreation Division manages almost 6,500 acres, encompassing nearly 50 regional parks and nature centers, neighborhood parks, and natural areas at various stages of development. Facilities include water parks, campgrounds, a target range, a stadium, a skate park, an observatory, mountain bike trails, an educational farm with stables, and a velodrome and other sports facilities. Hours and fees vary by location. For more information, visit broward.org/parks.
Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations in order to participate in County programs, services, and activities must contact the Special Populations Section at 954-357-8170 or TTY 954-537-2844 at least 10 business days prior to the scheduled meeting or event to request an accommodation.