The Red Cross not only works to support those who have experienced disasters, but also encourages everyone to feel empowered to help their communities through training and certification courses. From CPR and babysitting to water safety programs, we know each community has unique needs and want to support them in every way we can. The same goes for Elvia Price, the Regional Chief Program Officer for the Cincinnati Dayton Region of the Red Cross. Read on to learn how she is working with partners to help decrease the number of accidental drownings in her community.
In addition to serving as a Regional Chief Program Officer, Elvia provides staff support to her region’s diversity and inclusion committee. Through information from the National Red Cross she first heard about the Red Cross Diversity in Aquatics Centennial Initiative and its partnership with Jack and Jill of America, an African-American membership organization of mothers with children ages 2-19. The organization aims to strengthen children through leadership development, volunteer service and civic duty. From there, she got in contact with her local Jack and Jill chapter and the Cincinnati Recreation Commission. Together they started planning a program to help more children in their community learn how to swim.
“This time of year, there are more and more children that want to go out to the pool. They’re drawn to lakes and pools, but they often don’t know how to swim. We don’t want to see drowning in our communities,” said Elvia.
Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio were initially targeted to receive funds from the Centennial Grant because they have higher numbers of accidental drownings within the African-American community.
“But we felt we needed the same intense focus targeting our youth in Cincinnati,” said Elvia.
Through this partnership, the Red Cross, Jack and Jill, and the Cincinnati Recreation Commission were able to increase the number of free swimming lessons offered at community pools through the generosity of funds from the Recreation Commission, which manages their community pools. Through this effort, they hope to continue to expand opportunities for children to learn how to be safe in and around the water.
“What’s unique about the partnership between the three groups is how each group raises awareness of the need to learn how to swim. The role we play lies in providing most of the training for trainers at the recreation pools. All parties hope to see more people taking advantage of the swimming lessons,” said Elvia.
This month Elvia is celebrating her 20th anniversary with the Red Cross, and she’s looking forward to many more. She is thankful for every opportunity to give back and help others.
“It is a joy to be able to give back and help others. There are always new partnerships that come up. There is always a way to be innovative about how we do this. There is always a service we can provide to the community and that’s the exciting thing about working with the Red Cross,” said Elvia.
To learn more about our water safety resources, visit www.redcross.org/watersafety