By Marie Gilmore
Members of the local Water Smart Tots’ board want to stop childhood drowning in Hillsborough County. The local 501 (c)(3) non-profit was established by infant survival swim instructor and water safety advocate, Kari Bahour, to eliminate pediatric drowning in Hillsborough County. The organization provides scholarships for survival-swim lessons to young children ages 1 to 6 years who are financially underprivileged or who have special needs. The South Shore Chapter of 100 Women Who Care voted Water Smart Tots as their beneficiary for their third quarter charity. Donations from their members totaling in the amount of $7,400 will help fulfill the scholarship applications for parents seeking specialized survival swim lessons for their children.
“We believe drowning prevention is a community responsibility and we are extremely grateful to have such an overwhelming support from the community,” said Bahour. “Living in Florida, a momentarily loss of supervision is enough time for a curious toddler to escape and find themselves in trouble.”
In addition to Bahour, the WST Board is made up of excellent community advocates including a local pediatrician, owner of Premier Care Pediatrics Dr. Becky Pruitt, local doctors, health care and business professionals and concerned parents. Cammie Yick is a volunteer and avid supporter of the program, “We are so appreciative to the 100 Women Who Care and their generous donation. Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4 in Florida and this contribution will provide more children with survival swim lessons as an extra layer of protection against drowning.”
Water Smart Tots, Inc. is dedicated to eliminating pediatric drowning in Hillsborough County by promoting drowning prevention awareness through water safety education and by providing access to aquatic survival swimming lessons to all infants and young children 12 months to 6 years who are financially underprivileged or have special needs. As of April 2015, Water Smart Tots awarded more than 30 scholarships to children in Hillsborough County.
To join 100 Women Who Care, email 100WWCsouthshore@gmail.com. The next meeting of the organization is Tuesday, November 10 at 7 p.m. at the MiraBay Clubhouse in Apollo Beach.
For more information on Water Smart Tots or to apply for a scholarship, visit www.watersmarttots.org.