MOUNT VERNON — In response to the recent and tragic drowning in Knox County, the YMCA of Mount Vernon will offer its Safety Around Water class free of charge to individuals who live or work in Knox County.

This session of Safety Around Water will be offered in memory of Avery Kaufman. This special girl was a participant in the Y’s childcare program for two years.

“Avery always had a smile on her face and exuded the Y’s core values. She cared so much about her classmates, friends, and family,” said Denise Patrick, director of Early Childhood Education at the Y.

The program is slated for two sessions and participants considering enrollment may sign up for the June or July session. The June session starts on the 13th and runs through the 29th. The July session begins on the 11th and runs through the 27th.

Both sessions will run on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning at 9 a.m.

Director of Youth Programs and Community Engagement Emily Vonck said, “We are called to do this work and thankfully, we have the resources and partnerships to help.”

The Y is the nation’s leading expert in water safety and swim instruction. The Safety Around Water specialized program focuses on teaching children to be safer in and around the water. This free class is led by certified instructors and teaches children skills that can reduce the risk of drowning.

According to the CDC, drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages one to four years old. It is the second leading cause of accidental death for children ages five to fourteen. The United States experiences an average of 11 drowning deaths per day. With summer quickly approaching, the Y hopes to help protect youth and prevent drownings in the community through the Safety Around Water program.

The Y is pleased to have partners involved to make this program happen. These include the City of Mount Vernon in the use of the Hiawatha Water Park, and Knox County Foundation, which will help to underwrite some of the costs associated with the offering.

Call the YMCA of Mount Vernon at 740-392-9622 if interested in participating.

The Life & Culture section is brought to you by Knox Community Hospital.

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