It was tough to get a message in under 2000 characters over to the Oprah Show but below is what I was able to personalize and submit in the campaign to have the efforts of Diversity in Aquatics and National Drowing Prevention Alliance to hopefully be recognized on an upcoming Oprah TV show. It would be great to read others' entries and motivate others to submit their letters as well!!
Thanks DAP for making us aware of this! All the Best to You and to this cause
God's blessings to You,
Brad Lartigue- Big Sky & Missoula, Montana
My Letter Below:
Dear Ms. Oprah Winfrey,
I am an American of color with various ethnicity from Lake Charles, Louisiana, now Big Sky, Montana for 20 years. Grew up a shy, introverted kid and got into sport of Swimming after near drowning in Montserrat, W.I. as a teenager. Has been my lifetime goal to "Swim a Mile" in all 50 states in the year of turning 50 and I'm near completing goal (August 2011)by swimming open water-the Kona Coast of the Big Island (Hawaii). In 1981, I had another "incident" trying to snorkel with friends in Hawaii and would like to return where it began, the 50th US state. Over time, I have become a Red Cross Water Safety & Lifeguard Instructor, taught countless of kids to swim and personally became an accomplished swimmer. Next goal, to swim with Mark Spitz on February 10th (I share same birth date as him)!
Hearing (August 2010), story of 6 kids (Shreveport, LA) drowning, my heart sank and could not believe we still live in a world where families don't have means/foresight to teach their kids/themselves to swim. While the tragic event made national news, it failed to ignite a U.S. frenzy to curtail the nation's drowning epidemic. 58% African American and 56% Hispanic kids don't know how to swim as well most of their parents.
Advocates for drowning prevention and water safety education, like Diversity in Aquatics Program (DAP), work to educate and prevent tragedies, but we need your help. While DAP works in reaching areas that statistically need help, to effect change, we need to reach a wider audience hopefully with your help. Please consider allotting a portion of your show to this critically important topic. There are many myths to be dispelled about how, when and where people drown. Please use your voice to save and educate millions of people.
Thanks for your time and consideration.
may God bless your efforts,
Big Sky & Missoula, MT
Diversity in Aquatics
The National Drowning Prevention Alliance