FORT PIERCE, Fla. — With the summer season just days away, the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office is teaming up to teach local children to swim.
According to the Florida Dept. of Health in St. Lucie, drowning is the number one cause of accidental death for children.
"The nice thing about the program is the children build confidence," said St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office Detective Maegan Richardson."Most of the time they come to us, and they have no clue how to swim whatsoever."
The six-day class is for ages 6-16 and is offered over three different sessions during the summer.
"She was very scared in the beginning," said Myra Perez, a parent. "As the day went by, they made her feel more confident."
All instructors are deputies certified to teach swimming by the American Red Cross.
"They were like, 'You're a deputy? I can't believe you're a deputy, you're too nice,' and that's the nice thing about it," said Richardson. "We're teaching them a skill and we're able to just engage with them in a completely different way."
Perez said it's comforting to know her 8-year-old daughter will be more familiar with the water as the temperatures warm up.
"We don't go all the time but when she does, she's like the only one that's not swimming and I kind of felt bad, so I said it's time for you to learn at least the basics," said Perez.