Sea day lays safety groundwork

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Crazy days of summer: South Sudanese youths get into the swim of things at Frankston beach. Picture: Supplied

FRANKSTON Multicultural Centre volunteer Andrew Jang, 17, is living proof of the benefits of beach education days at Frankston beach.

Like many at the Tuesday 23 January education day put on by Life Saving Victoria for 50 South Sudanese youth and children, Andrew saw the benefits of swimming and water safety.

After a year of swimming lessons, he is now working as a pool lifeguard at Peninsula Aquatic and Recreation Centre, Frankston, with his older sister Nyajema, 25.

The education day was one of 100 half-day, fun, educational excursions run by Life Saving Victoria each summer. They aim to improve water education among members of new communities who are over-represented in drowning statistics.

They also aim to provide jobs and volunteer positions to those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, such as South Sudanese youth, to improve their inclusion and also to improve diversity in the aquatics industry and in surf lifesaving.

Also at the education day were South Sudanese youths Chotnyang Puok, 17, and Yauda Rock, 18, who are also training to become lifeguards.

“Role models like Andrew and Nyajema inspire others to do great things for the wider community – pursuits they might not have previously considered before fun days like today at the beach,” LSV multicultural projects manager David Holland said.

“Improved settlement, water safety knowledge and diversity in aquatics are the big winners.”

Frankston Labor MP Paul Edbrooke said even though it was “very hot” he “had a great time meeting the 50 kids from culturally and linguistically diverse communities acquiring the skills they need to stay safe in the water this summer”.

“Life Saving Victoria is teaching safety techniques for snorkelling and body-boarding, survival strategies for those in difficulty, and how to rescue another swimmer who is in trouble – all while having fun and playing games.”

First published in the Frankston Times – 12 February 2018

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