Your contribution will help provide Life Jackets to Texas summer camps and could save lives.
Texas leads the nation with the largest number of drownings for children under 15
An average 90 children die per year. That’s two school buses full of children
For every one child that dies, an average of 5 survive but live with devastating injuries.
Due to the pandemic, pools and open water recreation areas are the preferred field trips for summer camps and childcare organizations. While these activities may be safer for virus prevention, we fear Texas will have more child drowning deaths this summer than ever before. The money raised by this fundraiser will provide free Life Jackets to summer camps licensed by the State of Texas. We want to make it as easy as possible for camps to provide this extra layer of protection and in doing so, we hope they understand the importance of water safety. We know the pain of losing a child and are doing everything we can to ensure not one more child is lost to preventable drowning.
Our names are Kori and John DelaPeña and our six-year-old daughter Catiana DelaPeña, Cati, drowned due to the negligent supervision under the care of High Hopes Summer Camp in Cedar Park, Texas, on June 5th, 2019.
We instructed the camp administration and staff continuously, both in writing and in person, to put a life jacket on Cati and notified them many times she could not swim. Apparently, our specific instructions repeatedly communicated were not enough. Despite our clear instructions, the camp failed to put a life jacket on her, and she drowned in a Cedar Park city pool.
To our surprise, we discovered the state of Texas does not have policies or procedures that require childcare facilities to put life jackets on children before entering a swimming pool or open waters. This safety gap is what has led us to seek changes in the law through legislation. State Representative, Vicki Goodwin, filed HB1676, and Senator Judith Zaffirini filed SB1297, Cati’s Bill, during the 87th Texas Legislative session.
With Cati’s Bill, the summer camps or groups licensed by the state, to care for our children, would be required to properly place and fasten a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket on the child before entering the premises. Because there are many organizations not willing to voluntarily take these precautions, there must be a requirement in place. This would also make these common-sense precautions as enforceable rules by Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS).
HB1676 passed the House but did not pass the Senate during the 87th Legislation. We will continue our work to bring it up again through our 88th legislation. Our focus remains to bring the awareness of the dire need of Water Safety in Texas so our advocacy will continue.
We hope you’ll consider donating today to help provide life jackets to summer camps across the State of Texas.
Thank you John and Kori