Colin’s Hope Issues Press Release and PSAs ahead of Memorial Day Weekend

TEXAS ALREADY LOSES 30 CHILDREN TO DROWNINGS THIS YEAR!

Memorial Day Weekend is Here, Help Us Keep Texas Families Safer.

Austin, Texas – (May 26, 2017) – May is Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Awareness Month, and Colin’s Hope is reminding the public about critical safety tips that can mean the difference between life and death. Tragically, Texas has already lost 30 children to fatal drownings this year. We MUST talk about water safety and prevent these drownings.

“As Memorial Day weekend is here and families start heading to the pools, backyard pool parties, lakes and  beaches to beat the summer heat, we would like to remind everyone of the importance of Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Month,” said Alissa Magrum, Executive Director of Colin’s Hope. “In 2016 there were 107 fatal child drownings in Texas – that’s 107 too many and a 43% increase from 2015! NOW is the perfect opportunity to give Central Texans simple reminders as to how they can keep their families safer around water.”

Nationwide, drowning is the number 1 cause of unintentional injury related death for children under 5 and the second leading cause for ages 1-14, but drowning is preventable.

Colin’s Hope offers the following tips to keep families safer:

  • WATCH kids around water and keep them in arm’s reach – Always appoint an undistracted adult to watch children in the pool, spa and open bodies of water at all times.

  • Teach swimming and lifesaving skills – Make sure children know how to swim, float, and get in and out of the water safely. Learn CPR and know how to recognize a swimmer in trouble.

  • Wear Life Jackets – Always Wear US Coast Guard approved life jackets when in or around open water,  including on docks and boats.

  • Install barriers – Backyard pools should be fenced on all sides with a four to five-foot-high fence. Gates should be self-latching and locking. Spas and hot tubs should be covered and locked when not in use.

CHALLENGE: BECOME A WATER GUARDIAN

  • We challenge all Texans to visit www.colinshope.org to learn more water safety tips and to become Water Guardians by TAKING AND SHARING the Colin’s Hope Water Safety Quiz.

About Colin’s Hope:

Colin’s Hope, a local nonprofit, formed in 2008 after 4 year old Colin Holst tragically drowned in a public pool in South Austin, with lifeguards on duty and family members present. Our mission is to raise water safety awareness to prevent children from drowning. Drowning is the number 1 cause of accidental death for children under 5 and a leading cause for ages 1-14. While no-one is drown proof, drowning IS preventable.

Our major programs/initiatives include:

  1. Creation and distribution of 75,000 bilingual Water Safety educational cards annually to families, preschools, pools, water parks, and youth based organizations.

  2. Sponsorship, and co-coordination of a preschool swim safety program for at-risk 4 year olds. This program includes swim lessons plus on land water safety education, and is conducted in partnership with the YMCA of Austin and local school districts. This program just received generous support from; The Statesman Retta Kelly Swim Safe Endowment Fund, Austin Community Foundation and Swimability.

  3. Global dissemination of water safety information through our online Water Safety Quiz, and our Water Safety Tips & Layers of Protection.

  4. We help stock life jacket loaner stations at local area lakes so that visitors can borrow and return a life jacket.

  5. We are a preeminent community resource for water safety and drowning prevention information for media, hospitals, parents, schools and community-based organizations. We serve in leadership roles on local, State and National water safety boards.

We are a very passionate organization with a small staff (2), a dedicated Board of Directors and a committed team of 4000+ community volunteers and strategic partners—sharing a vision of a world where no child drowns.

Contact: 

Alissa Magrum

Colin’s Hope

(512) 294-3910

alissa.magrum@colinshope.org

Download this Press Release here

Download PSAs here

Colin’s Hope Water Safety PSA 1

Colin’s Hope Water Safety PSA 2

Life Jacket Loaner Station Installed at Hamilton Pool

We are excited to share this prevention win with you! Together with our amazing partners at Capital Area Trauma Regional Advisory Council and Travis County Parks a brand new life jacket loaner station opened at Hamilton Pool Preserve and has been immediately utilized by visiting families! We couldn’t be happier to have received this news as these jackets are crucial to open water safety.

Timeline of events:

  • Summer 2016 – 3 drownings (2 fatal and 1 non-fatal) occur at Hamilton Pool Preserve
  • Travis County Parks closes Hamilton pool to swimming
  • Travis County Parks calls Colin’s Hope to help get a life jacket loaner station up and running at Hamilton Pool as well as Reimers Ranch Park
  • Colin’s Hope assists with important messaging on station signage
  • May 1, 2017 – Life Jacket Loaner Station opens and is ready for use!

We are thrilled to continue stocking these stations with life saving devices all year! Thank you to CATRAC for donating life jackets, and to Travis County Parks for putting these stations together. Drowning is preventable, and together we can make a ripple in water safety!

Check out this interview by KEYE-TV, our CBS News affiliate, conducted lakeside by the life jacket loaner station at Mansfield Dam Park with Colins’ Hope Executive Director Alissa Magrum! ***2 corrections: a) Colin’s Hope did not put up the loaner station, but we do keep them stocked. b) We only assist with stations in central Texas.

Order Your Water Safety Information Cards Today!

Colin’s Hope is excited to kick off our 2017 Make A Ripple Campaign by distributing 60,000 water safety information cards to families across Texas and the United States. With life-saving tips for safer behavior around water, a link to our water safety quiz, and a detachable Water Guardian Badge, these cards are one of our most valuable resources, with options for both English and Spanish speaking families.

Find us at one of our upcoming events to get your family’s FREE water safety information card, OR place a bulk order here.

For bulk orders, we kindly request that you make a $1 per card donation. We appreciate your support as these funds will help us sustain our water safety card program, ultimately allowing us to reach more children and families with life saving information.

Looking for a volunteer project? It takes a lot of hands to assemble 60,000 cards! Email Colin’s Hope Program Director Jessica at jessica.sosa@colinshope.org to set up your very own event. Projects are extremely flexible and can be done with any amount of volunteers, in almost any location.

Thank you for sharing our vision of a world where children do not drown.

Colin’s Hope Reminds You To Enjoy A SAFER Spring Break

Colin’s Hope Executive Director Alissa Magrum teamed up with FOX 7 Austin again to share some water safety tips for the upcoming Spring break holiday, and reminders of how YOU can do your part to keep your family safer around water.

Top tips:
1 – Designate an adult water guardian to constantly watch kids in and around water.
2 – Wear US Coast Guard approved life jackets instead inflatable arm floaties or toys.
3 – Talk to your family about your water safety plan.

A big Best Day Ever thank you to Safe Kids Austin for letting us carry this message far and wide. For more information on water safety, visit the Colin’s Hope Resource Hub and take our Water Safety Quiz today!

Water Safety Must Be A Year Round Conversation

Are you planning to travel this Holiday season? Water safety MUST be a year round conversation. This year, Texas has lost 104 children to fatal drowning. That is a 36% increase from 2015. THESE ARE PREVENTABLE. Colin’s Hope wants you to be safer around water this season. If you are going on trip, some things to keep in mind and be prepared for are:

  • Family or friend’s homes may have backyard pools.
  • Hotels typically have pools.
  • Does the beach or lake you are visiting have life guards?
  • Does your cruise ship have a pool or other water sources?
  • Do you have a water safety plan that includes appointing a water guardian?

For more water safety tips, visit the Colin’s Hope Water Safety hub. Please watch and share this short FOX 7 piece as you prepare for travel or time with family and friends throughout the Holiday season. Thank you to Safe Kids Austin and FOX 7 Austin for the opportunity to keep talking about drowning prevention. Happy Holidays from your Colin’s Hope family!

Local Preschool Children Receive Free Water Safety Lessons

Colin’s Hope is partnering with the YMCA of Austin for the third year to provide free water safety education and swim lessons to over 600 children during the 2016 – 2017 school year.

Preschool children from Lucy Read Pre-Kindergarten, Dobie Prekindergarten Center, and Uphaus Early Childhood Center spend 2 weeks visiting their local YMCA for a total of eight classes. During the classes, students learn and discuss five important water safety habits:

  • Waiting for an adult before going near water
  • Learning to swim
  • Wearing a life jacket
  • Adults should always be watching, and
  • Staying away from drains

Children also spend 35 minutes each day with a trained swim instructor for 1-on-1 practice. These lessons are enhanced with songs, games, and interactive charts, and are provided in English and Spanish. Click below for a sneak peek of the program!

 

In addition to these lessons, the Colin’s Hope Preschool Water Safety Program includes a parent education piece. Parents and families of children in this program are invited to attend an information session at the beginning of each semester to learn about the program. At the end of each session, every child receives the Colin’s Hope water safety information card and Water Guardian Badge that can be used for future trips to pools or open water. Parents are also encouraged to attend each lesson to continue their education with their child.

Colin’s Hope is proud to sponsor local communities in an effort to share water safety awareness and, ultimately, prevent drownings.

Colin’s Hope

Colin’s Hope Participates in Chuy’s Children Giving to Children Parade

Colin’s Hope helped to lead the pack at the annual Chuy’s Children Giving to Children Parade. Each year, Chuy’s Restaurant hosts this event to collect brand new toys and donate them to Operation Blue Santa.

Alongside The Expedition School, The Central Texas Water Safety Coalition, Safe Kids Austin and over 50 volunteers from Westlake High School’s National Honor Society, Young Men’s Service League, and The National Charity League, Colin’s Hope marched in life jackets to promote the importance of water safety year-round to 80,000 attendees.

Thank you to all of our volunteers and participants! We look forward to seeing everyone again next year!

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Time Warner Cable News Features Colin’s Hope Got2Swim

Time Warner Cable News featured the Colin’s Hope Got2Swim 10K journey to prevent child drownings on Thursday, September 1. This year’s event included over 50 dedicated swimmers, and a huge support crew that worked tirelessly to keep every athlete and water guardian safe along the way.

Check out the video below, or visit http://www.twcnews.com/tx/austin/news/2016/09/2/charity-swim-raises-money-for-drowning-prevention.html for the full scoop.

 

Water Guardian Badge Impacts Local Community

Colin’s Hope exists to raise water safety awareness to prevent drowning, and does so by promoting the appointment of an adult “Water Guardian” and the use of the Water Guardian Badge.  The role of a Water Guardian is to actively supervise any children in the water, and wear the pictured Water Guardian Badge on their wrist as a physical reminder that they are on duty. If the current Guardian needs to take a break, they can remove the badge, and hand it over to another adult. It is our belief that this tool, along with multiple layers of protection, can save many lives.

Over these summer months, Texas has seen a swift increase in the number of drowning incidents. Currently, our state has lost 74 children to a fatal drowning, and it is estimated that at least 6-7 times more children have experienced a non-fatal drowning. Though it is tough to read these statistics, there are many lights of hope and positive moments to share.

Recently, a local community member and mother, Amanda Creager, reached out to Colin’s Hope via Facebook to tell her story of a Water Guardian Badge success.

“I wanted to thank you all for the outreach you all have done in the area schools this year. My daughter, a student at Elm Grove Elementary in Buda, was so excited to bring home her Water Guardian bracelet and to go over all the safety tips with me. Fast forward maybe a little over a week and we’re attending the first pool party of the season on Friday at a friend’s backyard pool. I noticed one of the other moms was wearing the Water Guardian bracelet in the pool. When she got out of the pool to use the restroom, she passed the bracelet to another mom and made sure she was “ready for duty” as the responsible party. Eventually, the bracelet was passed to me. During my time on watch, I caught a glimpse of one our younger kids just below the water’s surface. The more I looked, it dawned on me that he was about to drown. I was able to pull him from the water and make sure he was OK. We had 8 kids and 5 adults and I was the ONLY one to happen to see this boy struggling to get above the surface among the chaos of children’s laughter and splashing. As traumatic as the experience was for me, I am SO thankful I did notice him! Not 20 minutes later, my own 20-month old, who was at my feet by the edge of the pool, fell in while I was talking to another adult. It only took 1/2 a second of distraction! The universe was again shining on us as another adult screamed to notify us immediately that he had fallen in and we were able to pull him up quickly. Phew! As we were leaving the party one of the moms gave me back the Water Guardian bracelet and informed me that it was MY daughter who brought the bracelet and gave it to another adult with instructions to be watchful. Clearly your message made an impression on her and in-turn saved a life or two that day. I’m grateful for our happy outcomes and our increased appreciation for vigilant eyes around the pool this summer. I am also so grateful for what you all do in the schools to educate our children. Please know that it IS working and making a difference. Thank you!”

Amanda Creager
Parent at Elm Grove Elementary
Buda, Texas

THANK YOU, Creager family, for being Ambassadors of water safety in your community and sharing your knowledge with those around you!

Colin’s Hope Reminds You to be Safer this Summer

Colin’s Hope reminds you to be safer this summer.  Executive Director Alissa Magrum met with KVUE  and Time Warner Cable News this week to help remind families of things they can do to be safer near water before and during their trips this summer. In addition to learning how to swim, Colin’s Hope urges families to wear life jackets, especially in open water like lakes and beaches. Create multiple layers of protection for your family by staying within arms reach of children, learning CPR, and keeping your home safer. You can learn more about these and other layers of protection by visiting our Water Safety Tips page.

According to HelpandHope.org and our partners at the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Texas has already lost 64 children to fatal drownings in 2016. We are also seeing many adult fatal drownings and water related incidents in all all types of water –pools, lakes, rivers, bathtubs, bays and at beaches. If we do not do something right now, we will have more fatal child drownings this year in Texas than we had in 2015!

Lastly, Colin’s Hope would like to send a special thank you to long-time supporter Dorian de Wind for writing and publishing an article at The Moderate Voice and The Huffington Post entitled “Colin’s Hope: A World Where No Child Drowns.” THANK YOU for sharing Colin’s story and impacting so many lives with the message of drowning prevention.