Children in need learn vital Swim and Survive skills

28 August 2017

Learning to Swim and Survive is a key factor in preventing drowning across our community. Statistics show that since the introduction of the Swim and Survive program in 1982 drowning rates in Australia for 5-14 year olds have fallen dramatically from 7.1 to 0.85 per 100,000 population.

Unfortunately there are several barriers that prevent some children from taking part in swimming and water safety education and Swim and Survive lessons, with recent research showing that financial difficulties and the high cost of swimming lessons are a factor for many families across Australia.Ava and Levi by the pool at terry Tyzack

Royal Life Saving Society WA’s Swim and Survive Fund is working to break down these barriers, by funding Swim and Survive lessons for children who are currently missing out due to social or financial issues, or disability. Recently Royal Life Saving Society WA funded two terms of swimming lessons for four year old twins, Ava and Levi, in the Perth metro area.

The children’s mother, Melissa, submitted an application on the Royal Life Saving Society WA website, asking for help to assist her children who had never taken part in Swim and Survive lessons due to financial hardship. Melissa is a single mum, and Levi suffers from spastic diplegic cerebral palsy, epilepsy and global development delay. Due to his disability Levi requires specialized one-on-one swimming lessons which were simply financially out of reach for Melissa.

After receiving the application Royal Life Saving Society WA decided to fund two terms of swimming lessons for Levi and his sister Ava at the Terry Tyzack Aquatic Centre, a Royal Life Saving endorsed swim school.

Melissa says the swim school at Terry Tyzack has been very accommodating of her children’s needs, with Levi having private lessons while Ava has joined normal group lessons throughout this term. “Levi is absolutely loving his one-on-one lessons and can’t wait to get to the pool each week! The instructors are so good with them and are very accommodating of their needs. Ava is starting to enjoy her lessons a lot more too. She has a fear of getting water in her eyes or on her head and the swim instructor is finding ways to help her overcome those fears and show her that swimming is fun.”

Levi with his swim instructor in the water at Terry TyzackThe children will continue their lessons throughout Term 4, and Melissa is thankful they are learning vital swimming and water safety skills in the lead-up to summer. “The skills they are learning will certainly help them to have more fun around water and also put my mind at ease a little knowing they have some basic skills to help them if it was ever needed.”
She says for Levi especially the classes are not just providing vital Swim and Survive skills. “The lessons are also great therapy for him. The warm water and movement help loosen the muscles in his legs which plays a vital part in him gaining strength and movement out of the water.”

For Melissa her successful application to the Swim and Survive Fund has been a real breakthrough. “I am very thankful that Royal Life Saving WA was able to provide the funding and give my children the opportunity to have swimming lessons and gain some very important water safety skills. It’s absolutely amazing, and means that they can learn to be safe in and around water which is something I wouldn’t have been able to do for them if it wasn’t for the funding.”

Royal Life Saving Society WA is proud to be able to play a small part n Ava and Levi’s water safety journey, and see the positive impact these lessons are having for them. We look forward to being able to be involved in more similar stories through the Swim and Survive Fund.

If you, or an individual or group in your community, could benefit from this funding please visit the link below to submit an application.

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