JER Chilton YMCA at Rockwall Safety Around Water Program Kicks Off Water Safety Season

ROCKWALL, Texas, March 15, 2023 – The JER Chilton YMCA embarked on their annual Safety Around Water (SAW) program in partnership with Pioneer Technology and Arts Academy (PTAA). Working with the Greenville campus, over 600 children are learning to save themselves should they experience an accident or water emergency.

Strengthening communities through a wide range of programs, the YMCA devotes significant resources to teaching the basics of water safety. Through partnerships such as that with PTAA, over 3400 Dallas area children and hundreds in Rockwall County received water safety instruction in 2022. Recognizing that drowning remains one of the most tragic preventable deaths of young people, Jennifer Pewitt, Associate Vice President of Aquatics for the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas stated, “Through this program the Y can help eliminate drowning by educating children and parents on the importance of water safety.”

Local organizations and partnerships play an important role in the program, especially those whose members might not have access to or resources for swim lessons.  “The Rockwall YMCA also provides lessons to our local Boys & Girls Club each summer” says Myron Barron, Regional Aquatics Director. “And thanks to the support of PTAA and local contributors we look forward to providing free instruction to more community members this summer, just as we did last year.”

To further support aquatic safety, in addition to the SAW program and swimming lessons the YMCA offers swimming assessments so that parents have greater knowledge of their child’s capabilities and potential areas for improvement. According to Pewitt, a small percentage of children from kindergarten through 2nd grade pass the initial assessments therefore ongoing education is critical to reducing unfortunate outcomes.

Funded through the annual campaign, families are never charged a fee for swimming assessments and Safety Around Water program education.  Furthermore, swim lesson scholarships may be offered allowing some children to receive further instruction at no charge. For more information on the Safety Around Water program and how you can support the mission of the JER Chilton YMCA visit our website at

Melanie Mayfield, Blue Ribbon News Contributing Writer