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home : community : e-community September 17, 2019

9/8/2019 7:52:00 AM
Sally's YMCA & Autism Society Of NC Observe Subway Swim Day
Photos Courtesy YMCA
Photos Courtesy YMCA

Lincoln Herald Staff

Guests from Sally’s YMCA and the Autism Society of NC swam with autistic children at the inaugural Subway® Swim Day Saturday (Sep. 7th) in Charlotte. The participants teamed up with local Subway® restaurants and learned basic swimming skills.

Twenty people participated in the event, which emphasized water safety and swimming skills.

“Enjoying the water is something that every child should have the opportunity to participate in safely,” said Wendell Rowell, Board Chairman for local Subway restaurants in the Charlotte market. “When we learned of the potential to save lives that this program offered, along with the added benefit of creating a day of fun for these kids, this was an obvious choice.”

Up to 90 percent of wandering-related deaths involving children with autism are due to drownings, according to the National Autism Association (NAA). Local owners of Subway® restaurants and the community partners decode to host the Subway® Swim Day event this year to help prevent these drownings.

“The YMCA is committed to ensuring all kids have the opportunity to gain confidence and life-saving water skills.” said Joe Kovalcheck, Executive Director of Lincoln County and Sally’s YMCA. “As a non-profit focused on inclusion and belonging, we are so excited to serve these kids in this way. This is just the beginning and we can’t wait to work with Subway Swims and the Autism Society of North Carolina to grow our impact in this community.”

“Safety is always our number one priority with autistic children, particularly where water is concerned,” said David Laxton, Director of Communication for Autism Society of NC. “We are thrilled to be partnering with both Sally’s YMCA and Subway® Restaurants for the opportunity to educate not only the children but their entire families on water safety practices and enjoyment.”

The NAA says nearly half of all children with autism are prone to wandering, also known as eloping or bolting from adult supervision and going to an object of fascination, such as water. Wandering prevention and response tips are available on the NAA website at

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