The numbers tell a devastating story. Florida leads the nation in child drownings with 93 drowning deaths in 2022, and Broward and Miami-Dade counties with the highest count. Over 40% of children have little to no swimming ability, particularly within minority groups (45% of Hispanic/Latino and 64% of African American). For every child who falls victim to drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal drowning injuries.
That trauma can be prevented—formal swimming lessons reduce the likelihood of childhood drowning by 88%. With year-round access to countless bodies of water, it becomes even more crucial for Floridian parents and caregivers to introduce young children to water safety education and drowning prevention programs. To address this issue head-on, the YMCA of South Florida’s annual Beach Ball 2023, presented by Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, will benefit the Y’s Aquatic Financial Assistance program, which provides free lessons and water safety instruction for underserved children, teens, families and caregivers. Since 2016, this gala has provided swim lessons and water safety education for over 150,000 children in our community, saving the lives of countless children. Themed “Rock with Us!,” the Y is making a splash with its signature event beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 14 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, 1 Seminole Way, in Hollywood. “The YMCA of South Florida has, and always will be committed to promoting water safety and drowning prevention, especially for children,” said YMCA of South Florida President and CEO Sheryl A. Woods. “Every child deserves the opportunity to learn to swim. The funds we raise during our annual Beach Ball have a life-changing impact on those we serve. We thank Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and all our generous sponsors for the ongoing support they provide our Y and our water safety programs.” Beach Ball 2023 is presented by Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, with support provided by Brown & Brown Insurance Miami-Dade. Additional sponsorship comes from Bacardi USA, Delta Air Lines, Miami Heat Charitable Fund, Publix Super Markets Charities, Related Group, and Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, among others. For more than a century, the YMCA has been woven into the fabric of the South Florida community. As a leading nonprofit, the Y is committed to strengthening community through more than 200 programs serving everyone from 6 months old, to 100 years old.