JCMF Children’s Charities Announces New Float 4 Life National Training Facility to Open This Year
Blake and Kathy Collingsworth, Founders of JCMF Children’s Charities, announced plans to open a Float 4 Life swim center and training facility later this spring in Lincoln. This new facility will serve as an infant and toddler water training center, providing Float 4 Life swim lessons and classes as well as training and accreditation to instructors from all over the United States.
Through a grant from JCMF Children’s Charities, the Float 4 Life program was developed by JCMF Children’s Charities in conjunction with the Cooper Branch of the YMCA and was first implemented in 2009. It has expanded since then as JMCF Children’s Charities has provided funding to train more instructors and reach outside of Lincoln. “Float 4 Life has become a trusted brand to parents and families. We get requests from people from all over for Float 4 Life instruction. We recently brought a lady here from Alaska to learn the technique. She will take the skills she learned back to her community to teach lessons and train more people. There simply aren’t enough instructors available locally, regionally or nationally to reach the number of children we need to be teaching this life-saving technique. By having a national training facility, we will be able to provide an affordable and standardized program that will become a center of excellence in infant and toddler water training”, shared Blake.
Over 250,000 Josh the Baby Otter books have been distributed as part of the Josh the Otter Water Safety and Awareness Project. The literacy component of Josh the Otter will be included with every Float 4 Life swim lesson and instructor training, thus combining the education and prevention aspect of water safety along with the physical teaching of Float 4 Life.
The new facility, located near 14th and Yankee Hill, will also serve as the new office for JCMF Children’s Charities. The facility is being designed in a similar style as the Michael Phelps Skill Center located in Maine, with plans to use the Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spas. An official partnership was announced last May between JCMF Children’s Charities and the Michael Phelps Foundation. The Phelps team is very excited about the possibility of JCMF Children’s Charities using their swim spas in this new market of early childhood water safety. The swim spas could also be used to reach those in the competitive world of swimming.
A capital campaign has been announced in conjunction with the new facility. The goal for the campaign is $475,000 which covers the initial costs of the interior finish of the building and the initial operation expenses. A matching challenge grant of $50,000 was recently announced to help raise needed funds for the facility. Every gift will be matched dollar for dollar up to $50,000.
The facility will put Lincoln at the forefront of infant and toddler water safety training.
The mission of JCMF Children’s Charities is to educate children and adults worldwide about water safety through the utilization of drowning prevention campaigns and early childhood water safety training. Drowning is the primary cause of accidental death for children under the age of 5. Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death for children fourteen and under. (Centers for Disease Control)
It will be 10 years this summer when Blake and Kathy lost their two-and-a-half-year-old son, Joshua, to drowning. They created JCMF Children’s Charities that same year in honor and memory of Joshua. As Kathy expressed, “If we can prevent even one more childhood drowning through the opening of this new facility, it will all be worth it.”