Meredith Mathews East Madison YMCA senior director Katoya Palmer, a former competitive swimmer and nationally ranked water polo player, started a drowning-prevention program at the East Madison branch of the Seattle YMCA in 2017.

Over the past two years, more than 300 young people, ages 3 to 18, have participated in this YMCA branch’s Safety Around Water program, which offers drowning-prevention skills free of charge. Palmer says the Y-USA program, based in the Central District, is currently supported by grants and donations. “We are actively fundraising for year-round, free swimming lessons,” says Palmer.

Registration for the Safety Around Water swim lessons begins Sept. 7, 2019. For more information: 206-322-6969 or