Photo courtesy of AbilityFirst.
In honor of National Water Safety Month, AbilityFirst Long Beach highlighted water safety skills and techniques with regional leaders Wednesday, May 17 at its location in East Long Beach.
Wednesday’s event featured a welcome address from AbilityFirst President and CEO Lori Gangemi, who introduced Long Beach Vice Mayor Rex Richardson and representatives from the offices of Mayor Garcia, Sen. Ricardo Lara, Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn and District Five Councilmember Stacy Mungo.
Coca-Cola’s Director of Public Affairs and Communication Carlos Illingworth was also in attendance to present a $25,000 check from the Coca-Cola Foundation. The money will help fund AbilityFirst’s aquatic safety programs.
AbilityFirst, a nonprofit that works with people who have disabilities, helps its clients transition from childhood to adulthood by providing employment training and social connections. As part of its after school program, AbilityFirst clients, who range between ages seven and 22, receive water safety instructions such as how to use a life jacket, looking before entering a pool, how to signal for help and how to recognize if someone in the water is in distress.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the fifth leading cause of daily accidental deaths in the United States, without about 10 people losing their lives from unintentional drowning. Of these deaths, about two are children 14 -years -old or younger.
AbilityFirst Long Beach Center is located at 3770 East Willow Street.