WACO, Texas (FOX 44) – The summer hasn’t even started, and Fox 44 News has already reported on one drowning this year. The greater Waco Y-M-C-A is doing their part to keep kids safe in the water — with a free after school program. Swimming is a lifesaving skill, but when learning, there’s bound to be some anxiety.

Aquatics director Evan Bates at the Greater Waco Y-M-C-A describes children as having ‘jubilant fear’ when learning to swim. He says the only way to ease your anxiety in the water—is by taking the plunge.

“Give it up, get over that aversion and that fear,” Bates adds.

That’s why La Vega ISD and the Greater Waco Y-M-C-A have teamed up to conduct free after school swim lessons.

“It’s not just been learning how to swim. It’s learning the safety aspect of being in and around the water–and having life saving skills as a result, ” Bates says.

More than 1,800 kids from Central Texas take part in the Y-M-C-A’s safety programs every year.

“He best thing about with school partnerships is that they have the transportation to get the kids to and from here, so we can maximize our reach with the kiddos,” Bates says.

The four-week program teaches elementary aged children essential water safety skills. With each lesson the kids gain confidence in the water which, in turn, reduces their risk of drowning.