Inside Stories

After-School Program Teaches Water Safety

A new partnership between Lowell Community Charter Public School and the YMCA of Greater Lowell is teaching life-saving, and life-changing skills during the after-school hours.

LCCPS provides a school-based after-school care and enrichment program until 6pm each school day. Using its community-based approach, the school forms partnerships with area organizations and agencies to supplement and enrich its students’ opportunities for learning and growth during the after-school program. More than 15 agencies and organizations bring their own evidence-based curricula into LCCPS to expand learning opportunities for students.

The new partnership with the YMCA is a first-of-its-kind for the school. This partnership provides students with consistent access to a valuable resource outside of school in the community. Students still have the consistent support of their LCCPS teachers, but they also have the ability to connect with other adults in the community who have something important to teach them.

Chief Operating Officer for LCCPS, Robert Gignac notes, “The YMCA is a great asset in the city and we are thrilled to be able to provide our students with the opportunity to go to the Y after school and build their swimming skills. Enrichment opportunities like these where they go out into the community with their peers also helps our students to gain important social and emotional strengths, which help them to be successful in school and in their lives.”

The after-school swim program at YMCA is funded through a direct earmark for “Youth at Risk” and this program is specifically targeting “safety around water.” During a six-week period, 35 3rd-8th grade students enrolled in the LCCPS daily care and enrichment program have participated in twice-weekly after-school swim classes led by trained swim instructors from the YMCA. Beginning in May, two new cohorts, totaling 70 additional students, will begin swim lessons.

Chief Executive Officer for the YMCA, Kevin Morrissey notes, “Anytime we can provide at-risk youth the opportunity to get in the water with quality instructors it is a win for that child. Each child will develop basic safety skills, swim techniques and stamina in the water which will allow them to be more confident and safer in their decisions around or in water.”

The children are divided into 3 groups based on their initial swim tests the first day. They were divided into groups of non-swimmers, beginner swimmers and able swimmers.

All three groups are given lessons to develop the skills at their level to become better swimmers than when they arrived. The non swimmers are taught basic safety and floating techniques and basic swim strokes. Beginner swimmers are taught how to improve their swimming techniques and improve stamina in the water. Able swimmers are taught advanced strokes and increase stamina in the water.

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