Colin's Hope Teams Up With YMCA of Austin

Inside Austin
Sunday, May 14th

Sharing a vison where no children drown, that’s the mission of Colin’s Hope. An organization named after the tragic death of a four-year-old boy, Colin Holst. Colin was swimming in a public pool with lifeguards and family members present. Alissa Magrum, the Executive Director of Colin’s Hope, explains tragedy can hit any unexpected family, and it is not limited to children, but adults as well. With the already 25 recorded drowning deaths for the 2017 year, Colin’s Hope is teaming up with the YMCA of Austin to put an end to drowning. Sean Doles, Vice President for the YMCA of Austin, joined Alissa on the program and explained the many programs the YMCA of Austin has for teaching children how to swim. Sean also spoke about “Splash Day”, a free event happening May 20 at five YMCA Austin locations, the summer opening of all YMCA Austin pools.

You can find more information on “Splash Day”, or programs on teaching your children how to swim, by visiting

Alissa encourages everyone, no parent or single adult is excluded, to take the “Water Safety Quiz” to prevent a child from drowning at


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Inside us and but summer is it right around the corner and with that comes. Lots of swimming whether it's at a pool or at Barton springs. And the wanting that is the main concern most parents is water safety. So here to speak with me about water safety and also splashed day. Happening may twentieth at five different wind CAA locations is Sean Dole's the vice president for Valencia boss and and Alyssa make them executive director for Collins up. Welcome to program thanks for having it so you know how before we get started on on everything illicit what do you do for a Collins up. I am the executive director of Collins hope and are very small but mighty organization may have to staff people about 4000. Volunteers. And lots of local cream partners joined Steve Austin is one of our. Most fantastic partners. And what I do is I work every day to raise water safety awareness prevent children from drowning Collins hope was formed. In 2008 after a local four year old Colin Holst lost his life to a fatal drowning in a public lifeguard and pool here in Austin. After Colin drowned his parents learn that Channing is the number one cause of unintentional injury related death for children under five but it's preventable. And columnist for. So knowing that they it. Something that took the life of their child could have been prevented. Motivated them to create CommScope to just. Every single day we work to prevent drownings so that's that's what I do every day my daughter went to preschool Collins I was involved from the very beginning. As a volunteer first and now on the executive director so and Leahy said the small organization with. But with lots of volunteers as it is very small on staff but our our volunteers and our board of directors and our partnerships with community organizations businesses and schools preschools. Anyone and everyone who will help us raise his conversation about the importance of water safety and what things people parents and children can do to be safer around water. Helping us get that message out it just it really does takes it takes a village and we work with anyone who'll help us get that message out to ultimately prevent drownings. Sean you're vice president for the YMCA of Boston oh what got you multiple NCA. Sure well you know in my family oh I had number of close family members who suffered a significant adverse effects of I really the result of poor lifestyle choices being unhealthy throughout their lives in so from a young age I've been committed to. Not only leading healthy lifestyle for myself but also communicating a message. To the community and with. The wise that is my primary role which is getting our message out to the community whether that is around health and wellness childhood obesity. I'm around what are safety. Senior activities. You sports all the different things that we do. To help promote health and wellness in our community. I jokingly say if it has words or images or thoughts you know. I that's when I'm in charge of for our organization. And as it pertains to water safety note here in Austin. We partner with Collins hope in particular on a program that teaches. Kids in pre schools local preschools how to swim for free month. Beyond that we we teach more than 121000 kids a year how to swim Wear of the largest swim instruction for writer in metro Boston. You know water safety is a top top priority for us. And yeah we agree wholeheartedly with with no listen the Poulter Colin spoke. That getting this message out to two parents in making water safety. And making swim instruction. A high priority for them that's that's you very important right now. Water safety drowning prevention. You can actually take the Collins hope quarter safety quiz. And other resources. You know how to get financial assistance if you need that for registering your children for swim lessons. I'm so those are two ways. Right and use also my thunder task and challenge people later to take our online water safety quiz but Collins hope dot org has. Not only the water safety quiz that shuns talking about which is attend question quiz for parents and caregivers that talks on everything from. Don't leave your child unattended in a bathtub to making sure you're keeping kids. You're watching kids and keeping them arm in arm's reach when you're in the water tan how to what. Light jackets to Wear to how to get out of her rip current staying away from drains we've got ten questions it's not about water safety. And we are challenging people to go online take equity is shared on social media. It's you can't fail let if you miss a question we'll send you it'll send you a little. Hinton then passed on to the next question that really we've had almost 5000 people. Take a quiz and when you take it you can print out a little and the water guardian. Which is our our terminology that we challenged adults to become water guardians for children beacon print out of water guardian certificate and am really challenge your own friends says to become safer around water and to raise their awareness by it by taking that quiz but our website also has. Pages built up for every water safety tip that we that we talk about some people can dig as deep as they were lied into. Water safety in and something that's important I think is a lot of people think that drowning drowning is not gonna happen to them it's not gonna happen to their family it's gonna happen is someone else's family or they just don't think about it at all and when you. Talk about this and raise this conversation about wow what are the simple things that we can do. To change our behaviors around water whether it's learned swimmer watching kids more. Wearing life jackets are barriers around water even learning CPR but we raised that conversation. We can impact so many more people with these messages and prevent drownings because Texas has party lost 25 children to fatal drownings this year and it's a snake and it's me and we're talking about every kind of water nine of those or backyard pools for those are bathtubs we've got lakes and rivers and ponds. Community pools hotel pools backyard pools so. So this is this is something that we have to talk about me and sadly we have talked about in Texas your round because. Obviously bathtubs that's fading children happens your around the we can get into water Matt and him your round here in Texas so. This this is an important conversation to have and he. So. I mean obviously this is answer to this question parents should be very concerned. About water safety for their children. Absolutely and so you know what are what are the things that are often overlooked week. I think an important one that you mention is is barriers. Appears between your child in the water you know and recent drowning in round rock there with the child actually I'm latch the back door and walked out and climbed into the backyard pool so. Well we can talk press when lessons in that instance and might have been a better better latching mechanism on up on a door running gate right. And we talked about multiple layers of protection so loss on second and not barriers. Some are if I had to choose one to start with every conversation with it would be. Constant visual supervision that's watching kids around water none of us are perfect and I have children in and I'd like to think that I'm watching them all the time and we're human. So we like layers of protection but an in easy one is is we talk about becoming a water guardian in appointing an adult whose job it. Is to watch the kids while there and that in near around the water so find the water guardian actually have a water guardian that it is a laminated thing on Everest and so I'm the water guardian I have to go take a phone caller right to go to the bath or something distracts me. I can physically transfer that duty to another adult. And then there watching the water because something that people don't know is it Janning as fast and silent and they think you're gonna hear something they think they're gonna seed. A child struggling in a lot of times that's not the case a lot of times children or even anyone slips under the so under the water. Silently and quickly and if you're not watching. You can't respond if you're watching in your within our misery she can respond appropriately. And seconds count when you in when it's a water related yet and. And you know the thing that's often overlooked is the fact that it simply having a lifeguard at a pool is not going to prevent this who. You know would you term we use this year you're you are your child's life guard you know so. Your constant visual supervision you know being within arm's reach you know. Going to the pool with young children is not an opportunity for parents to relax at all quite the op now wraps it. So. You don't. Mistakenly assume that well because my child has the kick board or flotation devices or. That there are lifeguards at the pool that they are safe. That is the parent has that responsibility or in the guardian or designated. Water watcher. They have that responsibility for. I'm keeping eyes on them in. Maintaining. You know close distance and I think children around the age of like seven and ten at sage of my nephews and I can't I wouldn't imagine going to swim pool with them. But I'm anxiety going up the hall to vote that's just. There there's so unpredictable at times. My agent that's in Bosnia is about open water yeah we're here and I know I live filing Travis and there are wheat we hope stock light jacket loner stations that area lakes an anomaly Travis and we just helped I'm Travis Tony park stock one at Hamilton pulled because they had three drownings and multiple last year. Eating about pools pails they are not open water which is we talk about wearing life jackets you know is that is and where I am a US Coast Guard approved life jackets not water wings and not using new tools as flotation devices but again layers of protection because. That age group that you're talking about I think last year and Texas lost a 107 children to fatal drownings and those are just the fatal drownings. And of those 107 more than twenty of them are between the ages of eleven and seventeen and most of them verbal race. So that age group is I talked and middle school and high school kids all of the time and I share. Stories of some other children their age who've lost their life to learn a fatal drowning because this is not something that just happens to little kids and ready Leo we don't. Just typically with adult drownings but they're also adult drownings that are happening we've already had some this year on on Lake Travis and come. This is something that no one is drown proof if benefit it doesn't matter what your. Age or your. Who racer your gender or sometimes even your swimming ability Johnny can happen to anyone and so that's something that deserves a message that whoever's listening this is a message for you. On the other piece of that this is that while no one is drown proof drowning is preventable and then also studies have shown that with proper swim instruction. You know it is the risk of drowning is reduced dramatically. 8080%. Right for kids under age five so. So you can't take steps there is something. It would you know in other instances we're we're still working on a cure for cancer and other other you diseases this is something parents can take an active. Roll out in. Addressing now would you recommend parents may be any adult taking instructions on swimming yet too late for the it's never too late to learn how to swim we have we have parent child classes where classes for adults I mean from infancy all the way to the elderly we can teach people how to swim. Right I think I've personally I think swimming should be a tool in your life toolbox because. You know for me as an adult if I'm taking children around the water. I should be able to swim I should be able to. Help them if something happens and it if if you're not able to respond than that to me that's irresponsible but. I'm certainly there are. It. It's it is a major developmental. A skill you build confidence and in significant achievement for a young person for person of any age age. Encourages healthy living on the improvements chronic disease. I mean it's fun and it's fun yeah you know and you can get togethers and family. Where we were seeking about where a lot of these cases happened around town it is not justice when cornerback chart its public pools and everything is there an area that you see. More risk for drowning and others. There's certainly some zip codes that have had higher numbers of drownings in recent years stranding statistics her her very difficult tough to actually track my fatal drownings are easier because. You have a fatality in there they're easier to attract but the non fatal drownings where someone survives. My Janning and sometimes they're transported to hospitals sometimes they're not sometimes it just happens and and that. The statistic is. Is hard hard to find so it's hard to pinpoint the the exact. Zip codes we've certainly concept in recent years and we had better access to so does that because we targeted specific zip codes with educational information. I mean statistically across US it it does have a disproportionate impact on low income communities yet does trend along racial lines you know according to current national study by that USA swimming foundation. In 70% of African American and 60% of Hispanic children cannot swim. And they even with that 40% of Caucasian children can't swim so on the wrist. Is across rental on if you look at the numbers even in state of Texas right now of the 25. Fatal drownings of children nine happen in backyard pools. And backyard pools are not typically in low income areas so. I would tell you know firm need to look at those statistics it's we target areas that have a high number of backyard pools. Because that those numbers. Year after year there's such there's a high number of of drownings that happen in backyard pools but certainly. You know targeting lower income areas with resources like swimming lessons that are affordable. And in a lot of cases low to no cost so that we can get those populations lessons they might not have access to. So you mentioned low income families. Do you have any resources available for low income families who wanna keep their children safe shore so at the YU with the right financial assistance for anyone that comes to us whether it's for membership or programs so if someone comes to us for swim lessons in can't afford the fees will work with them to find something that works with their household budget. Now we also have some other. Low cost and no costs programs that we operate in the community with community partners like Collins hope. Like Boys and Girls Club like Austin independent school district. Where will will identified. Underserved communities and find ways to get. You know free swim lessons for kids in those areas or bring them into the why but all anyone needs to do is contact a wide we can. Either help them identify the resources in their community or help them find a way to get into a program at the Y besides the safety. That comes from learning how to swim what what are their what are some other benefits from just learning. House one. Well you know army. For young kid right swimming aid to the water is dangerous is scary I mean that it is fun and exciting but there's fear there's a significant amount it can kill you right right so you learn how to swim Euro learning how to overcome. One of the biggest scariest challenges that exists in your little world. In the feeling of confidence and power that comes from that. Is tremendous in that's one of those first major steps that a child takes in his or her development so once you can achieve that. Hey bring it on I can take on anything in fact in the in this this whole new world that's opened up for me in my friends in the while. Redneck and I can speak as am I am about T 43 years old and I am a swimmer I'm a trap played but I love the water and it's say swimming is a lifelong skills that you can do Ivan aunt who is in her seventies and she swims every day and it's like it's been. A lifelong sport there's some a lot of sports that you can do throughout your entire life and so from out wellness side of things from for me I know I feel incredibly peaceful and I'm in the water and I can get a really great work out so it's. Learning how to swim is firm for my kids is like learning how to ride a bike you know be you're gonna learn to swim for safety but also because this is. And I loved the beach we love to be around water so just from a standpoint of something you can do to write your life with your family with your friends it's you know. Yeah you know I mean that kid at the birthday party at the pool that has to sit on the side because you you you can't go in the water with everyone else. And so there's a social asbestos well it's a lot of different angles. Real quick before we end this interview that but speak about splashed day that's happening may Tway at the five YMC locations and Austin history gets the official. Opening of our outdoor pools for the summer so for the splashed is a free community event goes on at our. Northwest. Hays counties he's communities Aggies communities. Bass stripped in town lake locations. Saturday may twentieth and hours vary by branch so check Austin YMCA dot org. For that information event you've got interactive splash pads pools. Water slides. Water games contests prizes food. Fun for the whole family it's going to be great time and you can learn about the programs that are available at the Y. Perry and Ellis Lee have one more challenging and we mentioned it earlier that you wanted it to edit. Right in there I would like to lay down low water safety quiz challenge to anyone listening go to Collins hope dot org forward slash quiz. Take our online water safety quiz become a water guardian. At the end of the quiz there's a comments box you can put inside Austin and that box and we will deal to tell how many people. How many people took took the quiz but it's really is a great way to quickly refresher water safety knowledge and gain some new water safety knowledge. With the goal of being safer around the water. Well Alyssa John Allen thank you so much for coming in today and and informing our listeners about the safety of water and and keeping them better and their children for their upcoming summer. Absolutely thank you for having us thank you. Again that's Shonn Dole's vice president for the wind to give us an analyst and Bagram the executive director for cons of find out more information about if you're low income family and and looking for a way to teaching children how to swim. You can visit Austin why NCAA dot org. Or you can also. Visit Collins hope dot or to take equity is and to become more formed as a parent on. Teaching your children how to swim and if you want inform yourself on some stats on the water safety. There's sink the stats dot org again that's sink the stats dot or. This is inside Austin and we'll be right back.