For Every Day Spent Saving Kids From Drowning…I Am Thankful

Thank you words drawn in sandThanksgiving is around the corner, a time to focus on all that you are grateful for in your life. We’d be here a very long time if I were to list everything in my life that I am blessed with, so today I’ll just focus on one thing. My work. I have, absolutely, hands-down, the best job on the planet. If I do my job well, children stop dying, and every day I work with the coolest people around. Really, it doesn’t get any better. I am very grateful.

The great thing about working in the water safety field is that water makes people passionate. Being in and around water brings enormous joy, though sometimes water can be associated with the most intense sorrow of losing a loved one too early, especially a child. All of us who work in water safety understand the deep healing powers of water, and respect it’s power. There is commitment, enormous joy, and a sense of hope that inspires me every day.

Today, rather than talk about what you can do to keep your child safer around water, I’d like to recognize just a few of the people and organizations who are working tirelessly to make your child safer every day. I work with people all over the world, and I can’t recognize them all here, but I’d like to give you some small idea of the range of people who want you to be happy, and safe. It’s an awesome community and it is a true honor and a privilege to work with these people.

Matt and Chris Hales, two teenagers from California who realized that some of the kids most at risk for drowning can’t afford the basic equipment you need to learn to swim. They formed Goggles for Guppies which provides swimsuits, swim caps, and goggles to children in need. Thank you for reminding us, again, that kids can change the world positively.

Christina Fonfe of the Sri Lanka Women’s Swimming Project, who heard about the 2004 tsunami, realized that 80% of the victims were women and children, and got on a plane just days later with the goal of teaching women how to swim. She has changed women’s lives, and their children’s lives, in unimaginable ways by giving them skills to live that also bring economic empowerment and respect in their community. Thank you for looking through the obvious tragedy and finding a way to avert future tragedy and enhance women and children’s lives.

The great guys (and Raquel) at ISLA, Nile Swimmers and Lifeguards Without Borders for understanding that a well-trained lifeguard on duty at the beach is the best insurance against drowning. These organizations go to the countries with big drowning problems and virtually no lifeguards, to train lifeguards, which increases safety, raises awareness, and provides people with a source of employment and respect. Thank you for showing us how collaboration and leveraging social media can bring the entire world together.

Moses Kalanzi in Uganda, and the many people around the world like him. Often there are literally just a handful of people in each country who are working to make people aware that drowning is a leading cause of death and that drowning can be prevented. Working with virtually no resources and even less understanding by the public of why they should care about water safety, Moses, and so many like him, are reaching out across countries and working tirelessly for change. Moses has been instrumental in bringing together major stakeholders in Uganda as well as international collaborators in the water safety field, in the first ever meeting to talk about water safety in Uganda, this month. Thank you for showing us that one determined person can change a country, and the world.

Michael and Jo-Ann Morris of the Samuel Morris Foundation who decided that their personal tragedy should never happen to another parent. Their son, Samuel, died this year, 8 years after a non-fatal drowning accident at age two that left him severely mentally and physically disabled. The Morris’ cared for their son tirelessly while also becoming outspoken advocates for water safety in Australia and beyond, and a voice for the thousands of parents who are caring for children who didn’t die from drowning, but became permanently disabled. Thank you for showing us that a parent’s love and devotion truly knows no boundaries and being relentless in your pursuit of changes in attitudes and behavior.

Princess Charlene of Monaco, our true fairy princess. Princess Charlene could justifiably rest on her laurels as that great triple threat: an Olympic swimmer; a Princess; and a Head of State. Instead, she chose to lend her considerable talent and determination to ending an epidemic that few have even heard of, drowning. The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation has been in existence just over a year, but has already made a huge impact around the world funding programs and raising awareness. To the Princess and her amazing team at the Foundation, thank you for being willing to take the hard road and help us raise the profile of the global drowning epidemic, and to provide funding for so many of the incredible programs that were struggling without your help.

Please join me in saying thank you to all of these people, and to the people in your own community that are working to make you and your children safer. The swimming instructors, the lifeguards, the guy who installed your pool fence, the nurse at the hospital who told you never to leave your baby alone in the bathtub. They all share the same passion and commitment, to making sure that your family stays safe. So, please, take a minute to feel gratitude, send them a shout-out on social media or in your community, or donate to an organization that moves you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

About the Author

Global water safety for children is my passion and I can't wait to get up every day to work at it! I blog about water safety regularly at, or you can follow me on Twitter at RebeccaSaveKids. Rebecca is a former member of the PedSafe Expert team


One Response to “For Every Day Spent Saving Kids From Drowning…I Am Thankful”

  1. Thank you Rebecca for acknowledging Michael and I and our work for the Samuel Morris Foundation. Thank you for talking about Samuel and bringing him to life and highlighting Non-Fatal Drownings. Industries working together bring a stronger voice. Thank you for doing what you do in the Water Safety Industry XXX

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!