Effort seeks to Save Our Kids

Water program helps the less fortunate
Feb. 25, 2014 @ 09:15 PM

Some children in Vance County don’t often get to take trips to the pool or Kerr Lake.

Save Our Kids reaches those kids, as well as all second-graders in Vance County.

“I do think it’s helpful to get kids accustomed to the water, so they don’t panic,” said Nancy Kanouff, a second-grade teacher at Zeb Vance Elementary.

On Tuesday, a couple classes from Zeb Vance arrived at the Henderson Family YMCA by bus and spent about 30 minutes in the pool with instructors.

“They are not all going to have the opportunity to be near water and receive instruction, and this gives them basic instruction to prevent accidents,” Kanouff said. “There is a good portion of students who wouldn’t otherwise be in a pool. Some of the kids don’t own a bathing suit.”

The Henderson Family YMCA supplies swimsuits and towels for students who don’t have them.

The program, which started last school year, is a collaboration between the Henderson Family YMCA, the Henderson-Vance Parks & Recreation Department and Henderson Optimist Club, and it offers students basic water safety training during the regular school day.

Youth Program Director Kim Davis said the goal of the program is to prevent drowning and teach water safety.

“We talk about the importance of wearing life-jackets on the lake,” she said. “If they do fall into the water without a life-jacket, hopefully they will be able to float and tread water a little bit and not panic.”

Davis said the students are divided into three sections based on their abilities in the water.

Level one students are those who have little or no experience in the water. Davis said the instructors ease level one students into the water slowly by having them put their head under water and blow bubbles.

Since the level two students have slightly more water skills than those in level one, they are required to do similar exercises but for longer periods of time.

For example, level one students might put their face underwater for five seconds, and level two students would do the same for 10 seconds.

Level three students, who have the most water experience, practice jumping in from the ledge and treading water.

“There was a little girl who was scared to death of water; she would not even sit near the edge or put her feet in the water,” Davis said. “But now, she goes into the water with the help of the instructors.”

Saniyah Rogers, a second-grade student at Zeb Vance, said the training sessions have lessened her fear of the pool.

“I learned not to hesitate in the water; it’s just water,” she said.


Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.