Last summer, our YMCA partnered with the Sacramento County Youth Detention Facility, as part of a community-wide effort to reduce the disparate number of African-American child deaths by accidental drowning. Over the course of the summer, the Y brought swim lessons, water safety and recreational swim to hundreds of young adults at Juvenile Hall.
This year, the Y was back and offering an additional opportunity: Lifeguard Certification.
With continued funding from the California Endowment, the YMCA partnered with the Sacramento Probation Department to offer Lifeguard Certification Training, in addition to swim lesson and recreation swim programs launched last year. In just three short months, approximately 100 youth of all ages and levels received swim lessons and recreation swim each week at the YDF, and 3 teens graduated the Lifeguard Certification Program with an American Red Cross lifeguard certification; giving YDF teens a sense of purpose, increasing their confidence in the workforce, and reducing recidivism.
“This is where I learned how to swim.” Manuel joined the detention facility’s swimming program six months ago. He says growing up, he was afraid to swim and says he remembers almost drowning when he tried testing the waters. “Since learning to swim here, I feel better and I’m more confident,” Manuel said.
Each week, the Y hosted swim assessments at the YDF for residents interested in taking the lifeguard certification course. Residents over 15 who passed the pre-requisite swim assessment for the class were eligible to participate in the Lifeguard Certification Training. For those who were strong swimmers but needed to improve skills, the Y offered special swim lessons geared toward helping them get ready for lifeguard certification. Throughout the summer, youth had ongoing opportunities to become eligible for the lifeguard certification course, and participants who were released from the YDF before completion of the training were given the opportunity to continue their training at the Y, at no cost.
September 28, 2016