Riverview residents Colin and Ellie Morrison received scholarships to learn to swim with instructor Alanna Cutri from Water Smart Tots.

Riverview resident Kari Bahour and her team at Water Smart Tots are on a mission to erase pediatric drowning from the Tampa Bay Area by 2020 and they have found a fun way that residents can help them. On Thursday, September 27, the group is holding its Third Annual Designer Sunglasses Bingo at The Palmetto Club in FishHawk Ranch and all funds raised will go towards providing scholarships for survival swimming classes to young children who are financially under-privileged or have special needs.

Bahour, who founded Water Smart Tots in 2014 after hearing about three fatal drownings that occurred on Mother’s Day weekend, is an infant self-rescue swim instructor who has taught life saving skills to hundreds of local children.

In the last four years, more 250 children have received scholarships for one-on-one, survival swimming lessons and 780 children have been educated about water safety in classrooms.

Water Smart Tots, a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation, has raised more than $23,000 to fund the scholarships and paid more than $1,600 to instructors.

Riverview resident Krista Morrison’s two children recently received scholarships for lessons.

“Our house is surrounded by pools and pond, so learning survival skills around the water was essential for our young children,” said Morrison. “Water Smart Tots made it possible for them to attend one-on-one survival swim lessons where they learned how to save themselves if they should fall in and also face them a healthy and safe love of the water. We are all forever grateful.”

During the bingo event, attendees will be able to play 10 rounds of bingo with each round winner scoring a pair of designer sunglasses. There will be six Alex & Ani bracelets as door prizes, donated by Operation Lotus, and each player will receive a swag bag stuffed with items from Pinot’s Palate, Nothing Bundt Cakes and more. Entertainment will be provided by DJ Jake De La Cruz and dinner will be catered by East Coast Pizza, Taco Yolo, Nothing Bundt Cakes and Heavenly Creations. Sponsors for the event include Premier Care Pediatrics, Newberry Contracting, Inc. and the Osprey Observer.

Tickets and sponsorships are still available. For more information, email info@watersmarttots.com. To learn more about Water Smart Tots, visit www.watersmarttots.org or find the group on Facebook.

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Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.