BENEFITING: YMCA of Greater New York
EVENT DATE: Jul 23, 2016
Dear, friends —
You show the world that you understand the importance of water safety because you have enrolled your child in a Y Aquatics program.
The Y has made water safety among the most urgent mandates of our mission, especially among youth. Drowning is among the leading causes of unintentional death for people of all ages, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and it remains the leading cause of death among children four years of age and younger.
We’re writing to you because other kids may not be as lucky as yours, and thousands of deserving New York children would love the opportunity to learn to swim.
One way to make children safer in the water is to be inspired by the example of kids like Tiffany Addo...
MEET TIFFANY ADDO
I was six years old and had just learned to swim. I was so excited about it that I wanted to swim everywhere.
One day when I was still a new swimmer, my mother had just called to me that it was time to leave. At the other end of the pool where she was swimming, the water depth reached eight feet.
She was facing the other way as I swam out to be with her. I was getting tired and losing breath. All of a sudden, I started dropping in the water. I tried to scream for help but I couldn’t get the words out. I was drowning.
A lifeguard dove in and picked me up out of the water. It all happened in the split second before my mother could even turn around to see what was going on. She said, “I didn’t even see her — I thought she was following me.” That’s what happens with many kids. Drowning can happen so quickly.
From that day on, I knew I had to learn to swim in the deep end. I had to get over my fear. I thought, no matter what, I can do this.
And I did. Years later I became a lifeguard at the Bronx Y, and now I work at a city pool. In the middle of the pool there’s a dip many parents don’t know about, and last week a little girl swam toward the middle where the water is deeper. Suddenly she’s splashing — and I jumped in and I saved her.
You see the look in the child’s eyes, the relief that they feel knowing that somebody’s there looking out for them other than their parents. When families respond to you as a lifeguard after an event like that, you get a sense that you are actually doing something to make a difference in the world.
A pool is a community. When they first enter a pool, kids don’t talk with anyone else. But by the end of the session, they’re all talking and laughing and having fun — together. That’s unity. And swimming is a step toward unity for everyone.
When a person is prevented from drowning because you’re there, it’s an amazing and indescribable feeling. It’s one step you’re taking to make the world a better place. That’s why I will always be a friend of the Y.
You may have heard news reports of this summer’s drowning in the Rockaways and elsewhere in and around the city.
No other leading cause of death among children is as preventable as drowning. The basics of water safety can be learned by the very young — but only if parents and guardians take children to a Y program. Smart parents and guardians like you.
Here’s one thing you may not know about Y swimming classes and water programs: No child is ever turned away because of an inability to pay.
That’s why we need you. There are thousands of New York kids whose lives are literally at risk any time they encounter deep water. With a world-class harbor and rivers and beaches, New York City is surrounded by water. We simply can’t afford to keep city children in the dark about water safety.
When you support a Y water program, you could literally be saving a child’s life. By teaching young kids how to swim, and by certifying older kids like Tiffany in lifesaving skills, your contribution helps the Y strengthen the water safety of our entire metro area.
If you care about New York kids, and if you feel compassion for the challenges they face, please help us show them how to stay safe in risky situations.
With your generosity, we’ll teach even more kids to swim. Thanks for your involvement, and also for your kindness.
P.S. Your help will ensure that New York City Kids can become safe kids in the water. Please make your tax-deductible gift to the Annual Campaign and help make it possible for the YMCA to provide water safety and swimming opportunities to the children of our city. We hope to hear from you today.