Coast Guard mascot PFD Panda helps children learn about water safety.Submitted photo

The U.S. Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary will continue its ongoing support of Evanston Swims! by providing water safety instruction at the April 6 and May 4 sessions of this collaborative learn-to-swim program for Evanston second-graders.

The water safety instruction, which will be led by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Auxiliary stationed in Wilmette Harbor, will focus on personal flotation devices (PFDs); lake, river and ocean rules; and rescue assists, among other topics.

Participants also will meet PFD Panda, the Coast Guard’s mascot that helps children learn about PFDs and water safety.

“Summer is coming and we’re a lakefront community, so this component of Evanston Swims! is vital,” said Pete Caragher, Director of Aquatics at YWCA Evanston/North Shore, which is a main partner in the program. “The goal is to give children increased self-confidence and knowledge of water safety, particularly on the lakefront.”

“We are grateful for the continued support of the Coast Guard, and Coast Guard Auxiliary,” said Lori Siegel, senior director of facilities, swim, sports and play at McGawY  which also is a main partner in Evanston Swims!

“This is a big commitment on the part of the Coast Guard because they are deploying people to all four Evanston Swims! teaching locations in April and May. We couldn’t do it without them,” she said.

Evanston Swims! is dedicated to ensuring that all Evanston children are safe in and around water.