Project S.A.F.E. (Safety, Aquatics, Fitness, Education)


Accidental Injury: Accidental injuries are the leading cause of death and serious injury to children 14 and under.

  • Most childhood injuries can be easily prevented by taking simple steps to educate children, use safety equipment and provide close supervision.
  • The average length of stay for a patient admitted with trauma related injuries is 3.119 days at Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas.


The YMCA of Austin - in collaboration with Safe Kids Austin and Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas - is working toward the goal of providing all area first graders with education on safety, aquatics, and fitness activity. The program is Project S.A.F.E. (Safety, Aquatics, Fitness, Education).

  • The YMCA of Austin will provide swim instruction, safety education and fitness activities at no charge to parents.
  • Classes will take place at YMCA of Austin branches.

Program Format: Each first-grade class will come to the YMCA for eight days - Monday through Thursday for two weeks.

  • They will spend approx. 90 minutes at the YMCA in swim lessons and physical activities.
  • At the end of the two week session, each student will be given a certificate of achievement, a backpack, a swim lesson report card, a month-long free pass to the YMCA of Austin, and safety materials provided by Safe Kids Austin.

A Typical Day:

  • Buses deliver students to YMCA facilities
  • Students engage in two, 40-minute instruction periods:
    • Half of the students engage in swim lessons
    • Half engage in physical activity lessons
  • Classes switch upon completion of each lesson
  • Buses return students to school

Desired Program Outcomes

  • Provide all program participants with beginner-level swimming instruction, thus building a safer community
  • Provide program participants with safety and injury prevention instruction, for example Water Safety, Child Passenger Safety, and Helmet/Bike Safety
  • Provide participants with instruction in fitness activities that are conducive to a healthy lifestyle
  • Help participants develop self-confidence, self-respect and appreciation for their own worth as individuals
  • Create platform for children to engage parents in conversations about safety issues and healthy lifestyles


Drownings and Near-Drownings: Each year, more than 830 children ages 14 and under die as a result of unintentional drowning. On average, an annual 3,600 injuries occur to children due to a near-drowning incident.

  • Texas has already lost at least 68 children to fatal drownings in 2013. Source Colin's Hope 
  • About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger. Source Centers for Disease Control
  • For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries. Source Centers for Disease Control
  • The fatal drowning rate of African American children ages 5 to 14 is almost three times that of white children in the same age range. Source Centers for Disease Control

Physical Activity and Childhood Obesity: 55% of Texas youth did not meet recommended levels of physical activity.

  • 49% did not attend physical education classes in an average school week. Source: Centers for Disease Control
  • 16% fall under the obese category compared to the national average at 13%. Source: Centers for Disease Control

Participating Districts and Schools

Austin ISD

  • Andrews Elementary
  • Blanton Elementary
  • Mathews Elementary
  • Oak Hill Elementary
  • Pease Elementary
  • Sunset Valley Elementary
  • Wooten Elementary


  • Blanco Vista Elementary
  • Camino Real Elementary
  • Hemphill Elementary
  • Ralph Pfluger Elementary
  • Science Hall Elementary
  • Tom Green Elementary
  • Tobias Elementary

Manor ISD

  • Decker Elementary

Pflugerville ISD

  • Copperfield Elementary
  • Northwest Elementary
  • Parmer Lame Elementary

Contact Information

If you are a first grade teacher or school principal and interested in more information, please contact Gyllian Garvey 512-236-9622 ext. 329


      Project SAFE is supported
in part through
the generous contributions from:

  • AT&T
  • BBVA Compass
  • City of Bastrop
  • Colin's Hope
  • Commercial Swim Management
  • Robert Digneo
  • Go! Calendars
  • Craig Hackler
  • Hines Pool & Spa
  • The Hoffman Family
  • The Winkelman Family
  • Stephen Hurd
  • JCPenney Tech Ridge Center
  • Link Foundation
  • Shannon and Terry McDaniel
  • Mtech
  • Jean Olson
  • ONEOK Foundation
  • Thom Parker

To learn more about supporting this life-saving program, contact: Andrew Wiggins, 512-236-9622

Copyright © 2000-Present YMCA of Austin. All rights reserved.
The YMCA of Austin is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all. The YMCA of Austin is a registered 501 (c)(3) organization, Tax ID # 74-1193464, and contributions are tax deductible.

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