Image courtesy of the Long Beach Junior Lifeguards unofficial Facebook page.
Long Beach natives and current residents Colby and Brenda Durnin, Scott and Heather Meyer and Scott and Kendra Dixon have partnered with The Long Beach Community Foundation to create a new charity to support the Long Beach Junior Lifeguard program, which is run by the Long Beach Fire Department (LBFD).
As active members of the Long Beach community and workforce (Durnin is in real estate, Meyer is in accounting and Dixon is a Marine Safety Captain under the LBFD) and past junior lifeguard participants themselves, the Durnins, Meyers and Dixons want to support a program that taught them tradition, community and how to help those in need.
The 1906 Foundation seeks to increase the education and advancement of watermen and funds grants for the Long Beach Junior Lifeguard program through the Long Beach Fire Department Lifeguards-Marine Safety Division. In fact, the foundation donated $4,564.44 in August to the Friends of the Long Beach Firefighters with the intent of supporting the Long Beach Junior Lifeguard program, according to a spokesperson for the foundation.
The name 1906 describes the year the lifeguard program was created and honors Durnin’s Uncle, Robin Durnin, who passed away in 2014. The foundation was announced in his honor during his induction into the Lifeguard Hall of Fame, according to the release.
“Having grown up participating in the Junior Lifeguards, we know what a great program it is and how much boys and girls can benefit from being part of it,” said Durnin in a statement. “There is a disproportionate number of youth in Long Beach who have never been to our local beaches, let alone would participate in the Junior Lifeguards. We hope this is the first step in changing that and offering disadvantaged kids the opportunity to receive scholarships for the program.”
It’s Durnin’s goal to assist the city's program, run by the LBFD, from roughly 500 participants to 2,000 kids over the next 10 years. Considered to be one of the best junior lifeguard programs in Southern California, the 1906 Foundation’s goal next year is to offer five scholarships for the $420 eight-week summer program.
For more information about the foundation, call 949.542.4402 or click here. To make a tax-deductible donation to the foundation, click here or mail a check to Long Beach Community Foundation, 400 Oceangate, Suite 800, Long Beach, CA 90802.
This story was updated on 11/2/15 at 3:26PM, clarifying the city's role in running the lifeguard program. The 1906 Foundation is an independent entity that does not play a role in running the program.
This story was updated on 11/3/15 at 5:05PM, clarifying the total amount donated by the 1906 Foundation to the Friends of Long Beach Firefighters.