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High Rate for Minority Drownings

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) -  Knowing how to swim is something many of us take for granted, Rothell Davenport stays clear of the water, and he's not alone in not knowing how to swim.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning rates are five times greater for minorities than any other race.

Damario Wedemarl knows how to swim, he says some minorities do not want to learn.
I don't really see it as a need in life...it's more of a want" said Wedemarl.

YMCA Director Olivia Mills says 60 percent of African Americans feel uncomfortable in the pool.  She says that's because of cultural differences.

Mills says spending time at pools or beaches is something many African Americans just don't do.

" I think the reason why the number is so high in African American and Hispanic cultures is because people are just stuck in the mind set that...Oh I don't need to learn how to swim...I'm never going to use it" said Mills.

The YMCA received a national grant to provide free swimming lessons to minorities and under privileged kids, in the hope of lowering the number of drownings.   

To find out how you can register your kid for swim lessons or to get certified as a summer life guard contact Olivia Mills at (E) omills@ynela.org or (W) www.ynela.org.

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