TRAVERSE CITY, Mich., December 17 – The American Red Cross of Northwest Michigan wants members of the community to be safe and prepared at all times—especially in the water. Recently, the local Red Cross chapter received a $6,750 grant from the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation to support a new Drowning Prevention Initiative.
The Be Water Smart, Drowning Prevention Initiative is a Red Cross collaborative effort to reduce childhood drowning by utilizing community partnerships, volunteers and relationships with local aquatics facilities currently serving as Red Cross training providers. The initiative will focus on educating children, caregivers, and the general community in both water safety and lifesaving skills.
In the past year, there were 12 deaths due to drowning in Grand Traverse, Benzie, Kalkaska and Leelanau Counties – nearly a 70% increase over the 5 year average number of drowning deaths in our area and an unacceptably high figure.
The Red Cross is extremely thankful to the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation and intends to use the grant to help prevent future drowning deaths by meeting a 2014 goal of reaching over 1,700 community members with educational and water based skills trainings.
Building on the strength of the Red Cross’ nearly 100 years of being a leader in aquatic safety education and training, the Drowning Prevention Initiative aims to create a sustainable culture of safety that can help reduce childhood drowning by pursuing a comprehensive approach to drowning prevention.
“The goal is to use the strength of the Red Cross brand which permits us to attract volunteers who want to make a lifesaving difference and it backs us as an identifiable resource.” Said Kevin Bavers, executive director for the NW Michigan Chapter. “Combined with our caring community partners and a great group of interested volunteers, we should be able to nurture a local culture that focuses more on water safety.”
On December 10, Red Cross chapter executive, Kevin Bavers and board chairman, Doug Morgenstern attended a grant ceremony where they accepted the check from the Community Foundation.
For more information on how to give, get trained, or get involved with the American Red Cross, visit: redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.