Grants help YMCA offer swim lessons

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Harrison Family YMCA lifeguard and swim instructor Evan Jaffe, right, teaches Jakaylin Council, 6, the breaststroke during swimming lessons for children from the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tar River Region on Thursday at the Harrison Family YMCA.


Telegram Correspondent

Friday, July 13, 2018

The Harrison Family YMCA has teamed up with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tar River Region and Peacemakers to provide swimming lessons to 100 local children this summer.

Through the Michael Phelps Foundation as well as Pfizer, the YMCA was able to obtain grants that allowed it to open its doors to the organizations.

“We’re so lucky to be able to partner with both of these organizations this summer, which allowed us to have great job opportunities for the teens in our area, to be consistent with teaching swim lessons and being able to give back to the community,” said Kaila Billups, aquatics director at the YMCA. “We’re just excited about the opportunity, we’re excited about giving back, and we’re excited about a partnership with both Peacemakers and the Boys & Girls Clubs.”

The program began at the start of the summer and runs for a total of eight weeks. The Michael Phelps Foundation provides a curriculum for the program that is comprised of swimming lessons, healthy eating lessons, a fun component where they learn how to have fun in the water while being safe, and something called “I Am Successful” lessons, based around the concept of a healthy mind and healthy body. There are 12 instructors, hired and trained by the YMCA.

The Peacemakers group has 48 kids, who come in once per week for a total of eight lessons. The Boys & Girls Clubs has 52 kids, who come twice per week to end up having 16 lessons. Each session lasts for an hour and a half, with 30 minutes of a swim lesson, 30 minutes of strutted fun time and play, then 30 minutes of an I Am Healthy or I Am Successful lesson.

This is the first year the YMCA has been able to work with the two groups. The kids signed up through their organizations, and there was a waiting list for both organizations.