Parents, Police, Partnerships Honored at  National Drowning Prevention Symposium

Five organizations will receive the Community Lifesaver Award from the National Drowning Prevention Alliance at its annual symposium, March 8 - 9 in San Diego.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA, February 23, 2012—Five diverse organizations with outstanding drowning prevention programs will be honored by the National Drowning Prevention Alliance on March 9 during its 11th Annual National Drowning Prevention Symposium at the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina in San Diego, California.

The Community Lifesaver Awards honor exceptional work in the field of drowning prevention at the community level. The 2012 Community Lifesaver Award recipients are:

Abbey’s Hope Charitable Foundation, Edina, Minnesota

Parents Katey and Scott Taylor work towards a world with safer pools by educating the public and advocating for comprehensive safety standards. Before she died, six-year-old Abbey Taylor expressed the hope that what happened to her would never happen to another child. Abbey was severely injured on June 29, 2007 when she became trapped on a faulty main drain of an improperly maintained public swimming pool. She died in March 2008. To fulfill her legacy, Abbey’s parents founded Abbey's Hope Charitable Foundation in July 2008. In addition to educating the public about safer pools, Katey has been instrumental in having a statewide law passed in Minnesota to improve safety regulations and enforcement.

Central Texas Water Safety Coalition, Waelder, Texas

Partnering groups in Central Texas are raising awareness about drowning prevention. Formed in April 2001, the Central Texas Water Safety Coalition has several events each month throughout the year and reaches over 2 million people in the Austin and Central Texas area through media and public safety events. The Coalition has partnered with numerous public safety and educational agencies including the City of Austin EMS, Fire Departments throughout central Texas and several Children’s Hospitals and helps its partner organizations combine resources to promote boating and water safety awareness.

Joshua Collingsworth Memorial Foundation, Lincoln, Nebraska

Parents Blake and Kathy Collingsworth honor the memory of their two-year-old son Joshua, who died on June 4, 2008 after falling into the family pool three days earlier. His parents founded the Joshua Collingworth Memorial Foundation to prevent similar tragedies. The Josh the Otter Water Safety and Awareness Project is dedicated to teaching young children about water safety through the use of Josh the Baby Otter a book written by Blake, which was recently translated into Spanish. Nearly 40,000 books will have been distributed by the awards luncheon. The program has been presented in classrooms, community centers, zoos, pools, and childcare facilities around the world.            

Kaiser Permanente “Operation Splash,” Pasadena, California

Kaiser Permanente, in partnership with aquatic programs, developed Operation Splash in 2006 as a way to ensure that children in low-income neighborhoods had access to safe aquatic programs and environments. Five years later, Kaiser Permanente has partnered with nine organizations throughout Southern California, providing nearly $3 million in funding to support more than 56,000 swim lessons. The programs teach children and adults basic water safety and swimming skills in order to prevent drowning, and to promote life-long physical activity.

The New Jersey State Police PWC Water Rescue for First Responder Program, Atlantic City, N.J.

The New Jersey State Police Water Rescue Training Program was developed in 2006 after first responders were called to perform dangerous beach rescues for which they were untrained and unequipped. Since its inception, the program has trained more than 1,800 police, fire, EMS, and lifeguards from more than 100 agencies and received numerous awards and recognitions. In 2011, the program added an additional module that provided 16 hours of training on using a personal watercraft for water rescues. This additional module was developed by John Schreiner, New Jersey State Police; Robert Ogoreuc, assistant professor at Slippery Rock University, and NDPA past president; and Steve Stocks and Ed Schneider, both of the Wildwood Beach Patrol. Using a personal watercraft gives rescuers a faster means to reach a victim and a stable platform from which to perform the rescue.

Drowning is among the top ten leading causes of unintentional death for all ages nationally. Between 1999 and 2009 an average of more than 3,500 U.S. lives were lost each year due to unintentional drowning.

The symposium, sponsored by the Swim For Life Foundation, D&D Technologies and the United States Swim School Association highlights the best-of-the-best in drowning prevention educational programs, strategies, and products for individuals and organizations. Its purpose is to empower attendees so they can replicate successful events and educational activities in their own communities and improve public awareness. For more information, or to register, visit


The National Drowning Prevention Alliance is a volunteer-driven 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2004. NDPA members are dedicated to preventing drowning for all age groups in all bodies of water through public education, advocacy and strategic partnerships. The public is invited to join by visiting


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Drowning is among the top ten leading causes of unintentional death for all ages nationally. Between 1999 and 2009 an average of more than 3,500 U.S. lives were lost each year due to unintentional drowning.
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