Safe Kids Wichita Area was given more than 600 personal floatation devices by the Coleman Company, with the request that the Ascension Via Christi-led group see that they were put to good use.
Victoria Chandler, injury prevention coordinator for Ascension Via Christi Trauma Services and Safe Kids Wichita, knew she would need help distributing them, so she reached out to Angela Buckner, director of Recreation for the Woodard, Fairmount and Atwater recreation centers for Wichita Park and Recreation.
"When many think of our Park and Recreation department, they think of fun and events,” said Buckner. “But a key tenet of our work in aquatics is to also provide training to ensure that as many kids and adults as possible in our community have at least a basic level of swimming experience, which can be a life-saving skill."
On Wednesday, July 13, Safe Kids donated the personal floatation devices to Wichita Park and Recreation, which operates six public pools. In turn, they will see that they are incorporated into their aquatics programs, which offer more than 300 swim classes over the summer in addition to other programming.
“This donation will help us as we work to ensure water safety and training for anyone in our community who needs it,” said Wichita Park and Recreation Director Troy Houtman. “Plus, being able to hand out life jackets will help us encourage recreation on the river, at OJ Watson Park, and other natural waterways, which we always encourage wearing a life jacket on, regardless of swimming skill level.”
As for Safe Kids/Ascension Via Christi's Chandler, "We are just happy to have such a great partner in seeing that the personal floatation devices are distributed to those who most need them.”
For more information about the aquatics program at Wichita Park and Recreation centers, go to Wichita.gov/aquatics.