Ward YMCA Helps Kids Dive into Success

By: Joshua Lapp 5/4/2012

The Near East Side’s own Ward YMCA has created a unique partnership with Windsor Elementary School to teach 3rd Grade students valuable swimming skills while also helping to improve academic success and provide the student with fun activities.

Swim Up! lessons take place every Thursday of the 10 week program with a goal of training all 62 third grade students at Windsor by the end of the program.  In order to participate in the program students must meet academic and behavioral goals.

Seth Bowers who heads the program at the YMCA “has noticed changes in self-confidence, behavior and interactions among the students. They are listening to instruction better, and have even started to improve test scores.” Only a few weeks into the program and students improved scores on Ohio Achievement Assessment practice tests.

Although funding barriers exist there are hopes to extend the program to all 64 Columbus elementary schools. Not only does the program benefit academic performance but the skills also help preserve safety and health. Unintended drowning is the second leading cause of death for kids 1-14 according to the CDC and 17% of all American children are obese.

The program is especially significant for the King-Lincoln District who’s population is 77% African-American and other neighborhoods with large black populations. CDC statistics state that African-American children are 3.1 times more likely to die of drowning than white children.

To learn more and follow along with the students’ progress check out the video  below and visit the Swim Up! Blog at the link below.