Posted by Bruce Wood - Written by Tom Broad, The Tribune on Apr 06, 2022
Meeting poolside at the Lake Houston Family YMCA (from left) are Eric Gomez, president-elect; President Kathy Lemman; Mike Kevlin, past president; and Talybra Hollins, community executive director at the Lake Houston Y and a Rotarian. Talybra spoke to Rotarians at their weekly luncheon meeting to explain the YMCA's Safety With Water (SAW) program and thank Rotary for its support. Photo by Tom Broad, The Tribune
Lake Houston-area kids are safer in the water, thanks to the Rotary Club of Lake Houston.
“Today, I want to show you something that you are a part of,” said Talybra Hollins, community executive director of the Lake Houston Family YMCA and a Lake Houston Rotarian.
The Lake Houston Y received the Rotary district grant in October which allows the Y to continue their Safety Around Water (SAW) program for Title 1 schools in Humble ISD.
The Safety Around Water (SAW) program comprises eight 30-minute sessions to reduce the risk of drowning by giving children confidence in and around water.
“Our goal is that, if a child falls in, they can swim, float swim, tread and exit the water,” said Hollins who spoke to the Rotarians at their weekly luncheon at the Lake Houston Y April 6.
“Lots of people who come here see our beautiful facility and think, wow, the Y has deep pockets,” Hollins began. “I want to shift your perspective so; you can see how the Y works.”
“The operating side of our business includes the facility and the gym and runs on a completely different budget,” Hollins explained, but there is also the nonprofit side of the Y which focuses on strengthening families.
“My job is to raise the funds and earn the grants to offer some of the essential programs that help us to strengthen communities through family engagement, youth development and social responsibility,” she said.
Hollins described the financial assistance the Y offers so that youngsters from low-income families can have after school care or participate in Y activities.

“We never want to have to turn a family away,” she said.

The SAW program — Safety Around Water — was developed for Title 1 schools, schools that have a higher-than-average number of financially or academically disadvantaged students, Hollins said.
“Right now, we have 135 kids in the pool,” she said. “It is one of the coolest things to see — a child go from being completely fearful of being in the water to being able to get their head in the water, breathe in the water, and know how to be safe around water.”
Hollins shared shocking statistics about children drowning.
- 60 percent of youth drownings occur within 10 feet of safety.
- 2 kids die each day because of drowning.
- 88 percent of kids who drowned were being supervised.
- In 2021, 76 children drowned, and Harris County led.
- This year, 9 drownings in Texas and three in Harris County.
“Many parents say, ‘I can teach my kids to swim,’ and you probably could,” Hollins said, “but there are also some safety issues kids should have that a parent wouldn’t know.”
The Lake Houston Y SAW focus is on ages 4 to 14, especially African American and Hispanic youngsters “… because this is where we see drownings happening,” Hollins said.
By the end of this year’s program, Hollins said the Lake Houston Y will have taught 1,400 kids from seven Title 1 schools, thanks to the generosity of the Rotary Club of
Lake Houston.
To learn more about the Y’s safety around water program,, or 281-360-2500.
As the meeting ended, Rotarian Pam McNair was organizing a car caravan of Rotarians who will distribute the meat purchased through the Humble Livestock Show.
“We purchased two steers and four pigs and, now that they are processed, that adds up to 1400 pounds of meat,” McNair said. “That is a lot of meat to deliver. Our caravan will deliver the meat to Humble Area Assistance Ministries, Family Time, Village Learning Center and Mission Northeast.”
One of the good news items that President Lemman announced was that the Lake Houston club has been named the 2022 Nonprofit Pillar of the Community and will be honored by Humble Area Assistance Ministries at their annual Pillars of the Community banquet June 10.
Lemman also revealed that Rotary International has raised more than $7 million to support locally led relief efforts underway by Rotary clubs in Ukraine.
“There are several efforts to assist Ukraine including the Rotary Disaster Response Fund which will accept donations. Our district is assisting through Medical Bridges, which is the nonprofit that donates medical supplies and used medical equipment.”
Lemman said Ukraine has 62 Rotary clubs with more than 1,200 Ukrainian Rotarians.
The Rotary Club of Lake Houston Area meets Wednesdays, 11:45 a.m., at the Lake Houston YMCA. The Summer Creek Satellite Club meets at the Nimble Workspace on Redemption Square in Generation Park on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays, 8:30 a.m.
To learn more about the advantages of being a Rotarian,
Story by Tom Broad © 2022 The Tribune. Republished with permission.