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Keeping young kids safe by teaching them how to swim

ST. LOUIS – The Boys and Girls Club of St. Louis say a large number of people do not know how to swim – a majority of them being African-American.

That’s why on Monday the young people will be putting on their swimming suits to learn the fun and life-saving skill.

There’s no better time than in the blazing summer temps to make a bee-line to area pools and water parks.

But those fun times in high waters come with an even higher risk when you do not know how to swim.

“Often times, young people don’t know how to swim or don’t know the dangers of being around water,” said Dr. Flint Fowler, president of the Boys and Girls Club of St. Louis.

For that reason, the Boys and Girls Club of St. Louis is teaming up with the ZAC Foundation to teach young people the life-saving lesson of how to swim.

“Often times, being near the water can cause anxiety and fear on their part,” Fowler said. “So in order to be safe is to teach them the dangers and the best way to do that is to teach them how to swim.”

The ZAC Foundation launched in 2008 after parents Karen and Brian Cohn lost their son Zachary in a pool’s drain entrapment.

Just days after a north County 12-year-old boy and a Maryland Heights father lost their lives to drowning, grandparents like Dale Bonner says the valuable lesson couldn’t come at a better time.

“Everybody can drown,” Bonner said. “There’s no certain age on drowning so yea its most definitely everybody should be able to learn how to swim at some point in time.”

Because the loss of one life is too many when the main goal of getting in the water is to have a good time to cool off.

“If you can teach them how to be good in school, teach them how to be good in sports, teach them how to manage relationships with their peers, it’s also important that you teach them the importance of swimming,” Fowler said.

You can find out more about programs The Boys and Girls Club of Greater St. Louis offers here.