Year five of saving lives: Louisiana Splash and Water Safety teaches hundreds how to swim
Published 2:08 pm Wednesday, June 7, 2023
LAPLACE — Melynie Wright and Anita Hefler have taught more than 500 individuals how to swim since founding Louisiana Splash and Water Safety five years ago, equipping both children and adults with the skills needed to save a life.
Wright said there is still much work to be done, especially since Louisiana remains one of the top five states for water-related deaths or injuries.
“We are surrounded by water in our everyday lives and day-to-day transportation. Water safety is a much-needed skill that everyone should have,” Wright said. “As far as I’m concerned, when you’re teaching swimming, you’re kind of like a first responder. You’re just a different type of first responder. We’re on the front end, trying to prevent something from happening. You can lay your head down at night knowing you are making a difference.”
Louisiana Splash and Water Safety is once again partnering with Victorious Life Family Worship Center to offer swim lessons to members of the community at 8896 Richmond Drive in LaPlace, near the front of the Belle Pointe subdivision.
Wright and Hefler have already scheduled lessons for 50+ children this summer while also working full-time jobs. Together, they have offered instruction for children as young as 3 and adults as old as 80.
Water aerobics is also returning to the Victorious Life pool for Summer 2023, offering an enjoyable, low-impact exercise for all ages. According to the instructors, water aerobics can be especially helpful to those who are recovering from surgery or injury.
In addition to offering swim lessons at Victorious Life Family Worship Center, Louisiana Splash and Water Safety instructors can come directly to backyard pools.
Nicolle Whitfield watched in amazement as Wright worked with her son, who is on the autism spectrum.
“Thanks to her patience, kindness and trust building techniques, we were able to get my son swimming in just a few days,” Whitfield said. “Most importantly, she made a complete difference in my child’s confidence with the water, too. I would highly recommend her to anyone asking for swimming lessons – not only is she extremely qualified and knowledgeable in this area, but she is also incredibly convenient as she comes straight to the home.”
According to Wright, visiting backyard pools presents an opportunity for safety consultations. Steps as simple as placing bells on back doors or having locks placed up high, out of a child’s reach, can help mitigate water-related disasters.
The nonprofit delivers safety instruction pertinent to all bodies of water. Louisiana Splash and Water Safety helps families understand how conditions vary between backyard pools, river water, lake water and gulf water, especially as it relates to rip tides, currents, depths and floating objects.
Louisiana Splash and Water Safety will once again invite members of the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office to a law enforcement water training week. A separate week, to be announced soon, will be dedicated to adult swim lessons.
“When you see a lightbulb go off and the kid’s eyes, or you see an adult learn something new and realize that they had those skills somewhere inside of them, it really is special. It’s about knowing how great it is to possibly save someone’s life by giving them a skill. I believe there is no greater thing you can do,” Wright said.
Swim lessons are currently available for individuals ages 4 and older through four 30-minute sessions. Wright can direct families with with younger children to resources offering more in-depth training for water babies.