Community Voices

Don’t wait: Water safety classes can save your children from drowning

Children ages 5 to 9 participating in The ZAC Foundation Water Safety Camp at Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade’s South Beach Club.
Children ages 5 to 9 participating in The ZAC Foundation Water Safety Camp at Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade’s South Beach Club. Photo provided to the Miami Herald

Summer is not over yet and many girls and boys who don’t know how to swim will be near pools and other bodies of water that tempt them.

Florida is the highest-ranking state in the nation for drowning deaths for children under four, according to statistics from the Florida Department of Health.

Don’t wait. If your little one doesn’t know water safety skills, find a class now. Knowing these simple skills saved my daughter’s life and I am forever grateful.

Search “swimming classes Miami” to find reviews and lists of swimming schools near you. To find a public swimming program go to www.miamidade.gov/parks/learn-to-swim-program.asp.

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Christina Mayo CHARLES TRAINOR JR. Miami Herald File

Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade and The ZAC Foundation recently hosted a four-day water safety program that focused on teaching young children water etiquette and safety practices. The ZAC Camps are being held around the country in an effort to reduce the number of child deaths by drowning.

Karen and Brian Cohn started The ZAC Foundation in 2008 after the loss of their son, Zachary, who drowned after being trapped in the suction of a swimming pool drain.

Local first responders including Miami Beach Police, Miami Fire Department and the U.S. Coast Guard were among those who presented the ZAC Camp course to more than 100 5- to 9-year-old children.

Boys & Girls Club of Miami-Dade’s Vice President of Operations Rachel Fernandez opened the event followed by an introduction by The ZAC Foundation’s Executive Director Megan Ferraro and Miami Beach Police Neighborhood Resource Officer Deborah Martineau, who also taught a class on knowing who to contact in case of emergency.

The children were taken to Flamingo Park for swimming and pool safety lessons each day and then returned to the South Beach Club’s campus for an interactive classroom curriculum of learning activities. Each child received a gold medal for completing the course on June 30.

“Every summer, we hear heartbreaking stories of children who have lost their lives in pool-related deaths,” said Alex Rodriguez-Roig, president of Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade. “We thank The ZAC Foundation for bringing awareness to children as well as their parents that these accidents are preventable. By teaching our campers, we’re giving them the tools they need to recognize and report dangers before they result in tragedy.”

The ZAC Camps have taught more than 10,000 children and their families the importance of water safety. The South Florida event was part of The ZAC Foundation and Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s national initiative to bring ZAC Camps to thousands of members in 20 Clubs across the country.

For more information, visit www.thezacfoundation.com/ and https://bgcmia.org/.

New Neighbors Club

Iris Revson has performed on Broadway in shows including “The Pirates of Penzance,” “Merlin” and “Evita.” She will be the guest entertainer at the next luncheon for New Neighbors Club of South Dade starting with socializing at 11:30 a.m., Aug. 9 at Devon’s Seafood Restaurant, 11771 Sherri Lane, Town and Country Mall in Kendall.

The cost of this event is $24 by check and reservations are required. Contact Charlene Richards at 305-251-3074 or erinsmom623@yahoo.com by 6 p.m. Thursday.

The Club’s mission is to help residents meet new friends and develop community awareness while enjoying fun events. Members strive to create welcoming and friendly settings for events. For more visit, http://newneighborssouthdade.webs.com/.

Chefs Stand Up dinners

Seats are still available at $95 per person for the two upcoming Chefs Stand Up fundraising dinners featuring Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson (Food & Wine Best New Chef 2017) of Los Angeles' restaurant Kismet on Aug. 23, and Angela Dimayuga (James Beard Rising Star Chef Nominee 2016) of New York City's Mission Chinese Food on Sept. 21. All proceeds will go toward a charity chosen by the chefs. The Kramer and Hymanson dinner will benefit Planned Parenthood. The Dimayuga dinner will benefit the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum.

The dinners will be at 8 p.m., The Standard Spa, 40 Island Ave., Miami Beach. To learn more and book your seat, go to https://chefsstandup.splashthat.com.

If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at christinammayo@gmail.com.

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