NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – With summer right around the corner, pool safety is vital for families with children, but swim lessons aren’t always affordable. The YMCA is helping to bridge the gap for underserved communities.

Amy Kennedy has been involved in the YMCA “Learn to Swim” program since 2010.

“It’s very important for your kid to learn how to swim,” she said. “Anything can happen. They could fall, they could trip and fall not even into a pool, into a lake or pond. You don’t need very much water to drown. Just knowing what to do in that situation helps out a lot. There’s a lot of apartment complexes out there that have pools and they don’t have lifeguards, so the kids need to be aware.”

Kennedy told News 2 many of the children that come into her class are fearful, while others are very curious.

The Learn to Swim program is a partnership between the YMCA and Metro-Nashville schools, which provides swim lessons for first and second graders during their PE program for free.

The response from parents has been positive.

“I’ve heard from the teachers that they’re extremely excited that they’ve been able to have the opportunity , that their kids are able to learn something so important that they couldn’t provide,” Kennedy said.

The program takes place at four different locations and lasts 14 weeks. That’s plenty of time, according to Kennedy, for the kids become more comfortable in the water.

“We heard a little boy say to one of our instructors that he’s not scared anymore. That’s huge because that little boy was almost in tears when we first started the program, and now he’s jumping into 12 foot,” she said.

If there are parents out there interested in their schools participating in the program, they should reach out to their school’s administrators.

If you’re interested in additional swim classes through the YMCA, click here.