"Saving Lives. One Little Swimmer at a Time."
That's what Kyan's Kause Swimming Foundation hopes to accomplish.
"Drowning is 100 percent preventable," explains Trudy Cedeno-Quintana, the chairperson at Kyan's Kause. "We want to create awareness and teach kids and parents how to be safer around water."
And with the help of the Makers Collective and this Saturday's Trend Walk at Bird, the organization will continue saving lives.
Going on its second year, the non-profit was founded last June, days after Cedeno-Quintana's son Kyan died in a drowning accident in their backyard. Kyan was just a few weeks shy of turning 3.
"It's not easy to talk about," Cedeno-Quintana admits. "When Kyan passed away, I immediately knew I had to do something. It's difficult, but I do this because if I don't do it, then it's gonna happen to someone else."
Partnering with Ocquatics Swim School, Little Swimmers, Dade County Public Schools, and BridgePrep Academy Charter Schools (where Cedeno-Quintana works as an administrator), Kyan's Kause has helped nearly 500 kids not only learn how to swim, but how to take precautionary measures around water.
"We've provided swimming lessons at day cares, schools, summer camps," she continues. "We reach out to anyone that has reached out and shown interest, and provide scholarships, especially to people who've never dipped their toes in water before."
Scholarships, one of the components of Kyan's Kause, allow parents to enroll their children in swim lessons at no cost.
"But we're not only focusing on scholarships -- I can give till I turn blue -- but until you educate students, nothing is going to change," she says. "It's going to remain the status quo."
So far, Cedeno-Quintana and her husband Juan Carlos have seen their hard work and fervent desire to prevent drowning pay off.
Last month, Dade County Public Schools launched the iSwim Water Safety Program, where instructors bring portable pools to schools and teach kids "water safety education, awareness, and swimming and water safety skills."
While iSwim marks a major milestone for Kyan's Kause, it's just the surface of what Cenedo-Quintana envisions.
"We need to make this part of the curriculum," she says. "I implemented [water safety] curriculum in my charters last year. I want to go county wide and eventually take it to the legislature. My next goal is to hit pre-school education [the age group with the highest drowning rate]. It's about educating everybody. You can't wait."
"When you look back, it's only been a year and couple of months, but thank God we've been able to do a lot. It's emotionally draining, but it's important to bring that attention. Nothing will ever be okay, but if I can help someone else prevent a tragedy, then I will."
Trend Walk at Bird. Hosted by the Makers Collective. With vendors from Sincerely ALC, Looks By Maria, Gaby's Henna Tatoos, Beads by G, the Girl Print, Elephant Love, Skinny Buddha, Mary Kay, Modish Mint Boutique, and Ilo Gear; performances by the Ninth Yard, Chris Binef, Keros Miles, and Victoria and Geo Mendez; art from Ellie from Art and Soul Studios; and food from Pizza Zilla Food Truck and Slice of Art. Saturday, November 22, 5 to 10 p.m. The Makers Collective, 7156 SW 47 St., Miami. Tickets cost $5. Donate at kyanskause.org.
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