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Project SAFE (Safety, Aquatics, Fitness Education)
Accidental Injury: Accidental injuries are the leading cause of death and serious injury to children 14 and under.
- Most childhood injuries can be easily prevented by taking simple steps to educate children, use safety equipment and provide close supervision.
- The average length of stay for a patient admitted with trauma related injuries is 3.119 days at Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas.
The YMCA of Austin - in collaboration with Safe Kids Austin and Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas - is working toward the goal of providing all area first graders with education on safety, aquatics, and fitness activity. The program is Project S.A.F.E. (Safety, Aquatics & Fitness Education).
- The YMCA of Austin will provide swim instruction, safety education and fitness activities at no charge to parents.
- Classes will take place at YMCA of Austin branches.
Program Format: Each first-grade class will come to the YMCA for eight days - Monday through Thursday for two weeks.
- They will spend approx. 90 minutes at the YMCA in swim lessons and physical activities.
- At the end of the two week session, each student will be given a certificate of achievement, a backpack, a swim lesson report card, a month-long free pass to the YMCA of Austin, and safety materials provided by Safe Kids Austin.
A Typical Day:
- Buses deliver students to YMCA facilities
- Students engage in two, 40-minute instruction periods:
- Half of the students engage in swim lessons
- Half engage in physical activity lessons
- Classes switch upon completion of each lesson
- Buses return students to school
Desired Program Outcomes
- Provide all program participants with beginner-level swimming instruction, thus building a safer community
- Provide program participants with safety and injury prevention instruction, for example Water Safety, Child Passenger Safety, and Helmet/Bike Safety
- Provide participants with instruction in fitness activities that are conducive to a healthy lifestyle
- Help participants develop self-confidence, self-respect and appreciation for their own worth as individuals
- Create platform for children to engage parents in conversations about safety issues and healthy lifestyles
Drownings and Near-Drownings: Each year, more than 830 children ages 14 and under die as a result of unintentional drowning. On average, an annual 3,600 injuries occur to children due to a near-drowning incident.
- In Austin, 22 Drowning Incidents in 2007 (1 fatality, 21 near-drownings)
- 36 Drowning Incidents in 2008 (5 fatalities, 31 near-drownings) Sources: Safe Kids USA, Safe Kids Austin Swim Lessons
Physical Activity and Childhood Obesity: 55% of Texas youth did not meet recommended levels of physical activity.
- 48% did not attend physical education classes.
- 16% fall under the obese category compared to the national average at 13%. Source: Centers for Disease Control
Participating Districts and Schools
- Andrews Elementary
- Blanton Elementary
- Mathews Elementary
- Pease Elementary
- Sunset Valley Elementary
- Wooten Elementary
- Blanco Vista Elementary
- Camino Real Elementary
- Hemphill Elementary
- Ralph Pfluger Elementary
- Science Hall Elementary
- Tom Green Elementary
- Tobias Elementary
- Decker Elementary
- Northwest Elementary
Gyllian Garvey 236-9622 ext. 329
Project SAFE is supported
in part through
the generous contributions from:
- BBVA Compass
- City of Bastrop
- Colin's Hope
- Commercial Swim Management
- Robert Digneo
- Go! Calendars
- Craig Hackler
- Hines Pool & Spa
- The Hoffman Family
- The Winkelman Family
- Stephen Hurd
- JCPenney Tech Ridge Center
- Link Foundation
- Shannon and Terry McDaniel
- Jean Olson
- ONEOK Foundation
- Thom Parker
To learn more about supporting this life-saving program, contact: Andrew Wiggins, 512-236-9622