Helping to ensure Central Valley children have a safe and healthy summer, Children’s Hospital Central California’s Drowning Prevention Program will host its 5th annual May Day event on May 28 at Chukchansi Park in downtown Fresno.
The annual community event – open to more than 700 first graders from participating Fresno Unified School District (FUSD) elementary schools from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and the public from 5:30-9 p.m. – is geared around water safety, health and injury prevention.
“May Day provides an opportunity for us to reach a greater and more diverse audience with our safety interventions,” Children’s Water Safety Coordinator Mary Jo Quintero, who organizes the event.
For example, at the event kids can see how murky a lake or ponding basin can be, while learning the dangers of how they can become stuck in underwater debris. Activities also include interactive booths where children learn about swim aids and “Impact Teen Driver” which shows the dangers of distracted driving (i.e. texting and talking on cell phones while operating a vehicle).
As part of the event, Chukchansi Park is transformed with informational booths and exhibits for children and families including: U.S. Coastguard boats, Fresno County Sherriff’s Department jet skis, U.S. Army Core water safety trailer, Fresno Fire Department safe house, a mobile fitness van and Kohl’s Water Safety booth.
“Drowning is the number one cause of injury-related death in the Central Valley for children under the age of five,” said Quintero. “Our Drowning Prevention Program has reached over 98,000 children and families since 2001.”
May Day is part of a water safety curriculum (that meets state guidelines) created by Quintero. During the week leading up to May Day, Fresno Unified School District (FUSD) first graders at Del Mar, Greenburg, Muir, Susan B. Anthony and Wishon elementary schools learn about water safety. The event culminates their water safety education.
The Water Safety Council of Fresno County will also present a $2,000 check the City of Fresno Parks and Recreation to pay for swim lessons for low-income families.
Proclamations from local governments (including: the Fresno Mayor’s office and Fresno City Council, Fresno County Board of Supervisors and the cities of Lemoore, Madera, Reedley and San Joaquin) recognizing the importance of the annual event, will be presented at May Day.
“We couldn’t do it by ourselves, it’s all of the partners that make it possible,” said Quintero.
Partners include Kohl’s Department Stores, which provide 20 A-Team members who volunteer in coordinating the event; Safe Kids Central Valley; Water Safety Council of Fresno County; Kiwanis International; and Valley Pool Service, Inc.
Kohl's Water Safety Program