South Florida

Swim Week: Swim for Jenny Partners With YMCA

A South Florida mother is turning tragedy into action after her daughter drowned.

The YMCA of South Florida has partnered with Swim for Jenny, an organization devoted to teaching children how to swim after the death of 12-year-old Jenny Nguyen.

It was five years ago that Nguyen suffered an underwater tragedy. She was at a party in Homestead when she went into water that was too deep. She didn't know how to swim.

"I dropped her at her teacher's house for the birthday party. I really don't know. She took them to another party. Right after that happened I just know that she drowned over there and I really don't know like how that happened," mother Ana Nguyen said.

Nguyen is still hurting and confused after losing her daughter but she's taken action, starting the Swim for Jenny project with her family friend.

"We founded the swim for Jenny program in 2011 after the drowning death of Jenny Nguyen. She was 12 and a half at the time and did not know how to swim so what we thought of a way to memorialize her we couldn't think of a better way than to provide swim lessons for the community," friend Susie Vega said.

The YMCA has partnered with the program to educate kids with access to free swim lessons.

"We've provided 3,500 swim scholarships and we're very excited that the program is now going to be taken to an even bigger plateau since we have a much larger audience," Vega said.

Water safety awareness is always on their minds and they want parents to remember that swimming lessons can save lives.

"Give your child a lesson for swimming, you know that's very important because I go through my life, you know, what I lost and you know, what my mistake," Nguyen said. "I don't put her in this lesson for beginner, that's my mistake because I just worry about her, she so afraid with the water and stuff like that. That's why I never did it. That's my mistake."

It's a mistake she doesn't want anyone else to repeat.

"Especially in South Florida where there's water everywhere you go," Vega said. "Everywhere you turn there's a canal or a body of water so we find it important not just to learn how to swim in a pool but in other bodies of water."

Nguyen said she hopes her story of loss will help inspire others. She said educating one parent or even a child is a step in the right direction.

For information on Swim for Jenny Week and free swimming lessons, click here.

For more information on NBC 6's Swim Week, click here.

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