Karen and Brian Cohn experienced every parent's worst nightmare in 2007. After installing a backyard pool to kick off the summer season, their six-year-old son Zachary ran outside to go for a swim. Next thing they know, the Cohns were pulling their son from the pool's drain trap.
Courtesy of: ZAC Foundation
Courtesy of: ZAC Foundation
Read the full story in the upcoming October issue of Swimming World Magazine CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE!
"We had many friends and family come to us and say that they didn't know this could happen," said Karen. "We thought we were doing what we were supposed to do to protect him. We decided at that point that we didn't want another family to have to endure the loss of their child to a drowning."
So the Cohns formed the ZAC Foundation in their son's memory, which aims to save lives through grassroots outreach, ZAC Camps and school curriculums.
ZAC Camps were launched in 2011 to provide underprivileged children with free swim lessons. The camps are now conducted nationwide during school spring breaks and again during the summer months.
This summer, the Cohns released their first children's book, titled The Polar Bear Who Couldn't, Wouldn't Swim. The story follows a young polar bear, Zeke, as he learns the A, B, C and D fundamentals of water safety.
The book presents swimming as a fun activity if people follow the proper precautions. Introducing a variety of animals as characters also helps children realize that swimming is a part of life for many creatures.
"We tried to include other animals that it wouldn't be so obvious that they would like the water or swim," said Karen. "It's about Zeke's journey of being afraid of the water and then overcoming that fear."
The book is given free to every child that completes a ZAC Camp. It is also being sold through Amazon and on the ZAC Foundation website.
Read more about Karen and Brian Cohns' journey and the progression of the ZAC Foundation in the upcoming October issue of Swimming World Magazine. Subscribe TODAY and you'll receive a print copy of the October issue to your doorstep!
About the Cohns' children's book, The Polar Bear Who Couldn't, Wouldn't Swim:
The Polar Bear Who Couldn't, Wouldn't Swim follows the journey of a young polar bear named Zeke who is afraid of the water and refuses to swim. He leaves his home in search of other animals who do not swim, and ends up finding that he can enjoy the water if he follows the ABC and Ds of water safety, while learning a valuable lesson about facing his fears with a positive attitude.
Families reading the book will learn the lessons Zeke discovers to stay safe in the water:
A is for Adults: only be near water with adult supervision
B is for Barriers: barriers, such as a fence that goes around a pool, keep children safe
C is for Classes: take swimming classes to learn how to be safe in the water
D is for Drains: pool drains are dangerous to swimmers, and should be avoided while swimming.
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