Unique Event Calls Attention to Childhood Drowning Concerns Ahead of Memorial Day Weekend

Roxie's Wish: Drowning Prevention Week for Children

Roxie's Wish: Drowning Prevention Week for Children

As Memorial Day and summer vacations approach, a Los Angeles nonprofit is making a unique effort to educate millions about the growing dangers of childhood drowning.

Meow Meow Foundation recently passed California legislation which declares every third week of May as Roxie's Wish: Drowning Prevention Week for Children. Coinciding with this annual event, the organization is hosting a 7-part series under the same name from May 15-21. Due to COVID-19 restrictions this year's program will stream online.

Foundation co-founders Doug Forbes and Elena Matyas launched the nonprofit after the preventable death of their 6-year-old daughter Roxie who drowned at a summer camp in the summer of 2019. Forbes and Elena Matyas have since been tireless childhood drowning prevention and camp safety advocates.

"I weep half the day," said Forbes. "But honoring Roxie in her death as we did in her life is our primary mission. Childhood drowning must receive greater attention, since at least five U.S. children suffer from preventable fatal and nonfatal drownings every day. This number one killer of kids 1-4 and second for children 5-14 is preventable. Enough is enough."

Celebrated Olympians are lending their voices, including Missy Franklin Johnson, Gary Hall Jr., Janet Evans, Lenny Krayzelburg, John Naber, Darian Townsend, Lia Neal, Maritza McClendon and Janelle Atkinson.

Participating government officials include Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, U.S. Rep. Judy Chu, Assemblyman Chris Holden, Sen. Anthony Portantino and Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis. The series will also feature segments dedicated to drowning prevention stalwarts Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

Roxie's Wish showcases an abundance of voices that range from the Michael Phelps Foundation and American Academy of Pediatrics to government agencies, swim schools, community leaders, families and youth, all of whom shoulder the following nightly episodes:

  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Aquatics
  • Swimming Lessons & Water Safety
  • Barriers, Rescues & Other Safety Resources
  • Partnerships
  • Lifeguards & Waterfronts
  • Advocacy
  • Celebration of Children

"Our event will share stories of children who should not be remembered as statistics," Matyas said. "These were vibrant, hopeful, beautiful young lives robbed of their futures because adults have not yet been able to assemble a wholly effective response to a preventable safety crisis."

The Roxie's Wish series will be available on the Meow Meow Foundation website, on its new YouTube channel and its IGTV (Instagram TV) landing page @meowmeowfoundation2019.


Meow Meow Foundation launched after the preventable summer camp drowning of Roxie Mirabelle Forbes in June of 2019. The organization protects children with end-to-end drowning prevention and camp safety programming, including legislation, educational campaigns, speaking engagements, downloadable resources and events. Its camp safety awareness and educational programming is the only foundation-based, non-camp industry effort in the country. For more information contact doug@meowmeowfoundation.org or 323.333.0384.

Source: Meow Meow Foundation


Categories: General Interest

Tags: American Academy of Pediatrics, child drowning, Consumer Products Safety Council Pool Safely, drowning prevention, Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti, Memorial Day, Meow Meow Foundation, Michael Phelps Foundation, National Drowning Prevention Alliance, preventable drowning, Safe Kids Worldwide, swim lessons, water safety