Donation keeps teaching life-saving water skills

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NEENAH, Wis. (WBAY) - A donation given in 2015 is having a growing impact on local children's life-saving skills around water.

Boy extends pool noodle to girl in water
Local students practice life-saving skills at the Neenah-Menasha YMCA (WBAY photo)

"We're doing gliding and how not to go underwater but to stay at the top," fifth-grader Gina Bellin said.

These are some of the skills being taught to elementary students in Neenah and Menasha to prepare them to be safe -- and save others -- in different types of water.

"So many bodies of water around us in Neenah-Menasha. We have so many lakes, rivers, and creeks," teacher Erica Cates said.

Community member Bob Brown gave $1 million to the YMCA to provide Neenah-Menasha area students a Safe Around Water program for free.

So far about 600 students have received the training. Four hundred students are receiving it this year.

"Significant impact in this area. There area many students that don't have the opportunity," Angie Kennedy of the Neenah-Menasha YMCA said.

"Really thankful someone donated the money for us, because now we get to learn how to be safe around water in case one of these situations comes up," Gina said.

And these fourth- and fifth-graders are ready to take their skills with them during summer fun.

"During the summer we usually go to the pool a lot, and we'll use those skills if we enter any of these cases," fifth-grader Drew Gaerthfoner said.

The YMCA says Brown's gift will ensure these lessons continue for many years to come.

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