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Life-saving lessons a lasting legacy

Posted: November 23, 2011 - 12:02am  |  Updated: November 23, 2011 - 3:36am

Among the more heartbreaking scenes recently was the ceremony and balloon release at A Child’s World Day Care in Evans this past Thursday.

Children, staffers and others from the community gathered with the family of Jayden Kerns, a 4-year-old who recently drowned in her family pool. The touching ceremony allowed children, who often have a difficult time understanding death, to say goodbye to their friend.

Once the balloons floated away, the children will be reminded about Jayden with a rock garden they helped design.

A more lasting legacy, however, would be for all parents to see to it that deaths such as Jayden’s are less likely to occur. Thanks to a couple of agencies in our area, that isn’t as difficult as it might sound.

First, the Family Y offers swimming lessons for children, says Public Relations Director Millie Schumacher. “We do start as young as 6 months old,” she said.

And there’s no reason for money to get in the way, either. “It’s a pretty affordable fee for the swimming lessons themselves,” Schumacher says, “but we also make financial assistance available for everything we do.”

Second, the American Red Cross of Augusta offers a tremendous number of life-saving courses, including infant and child CPR.

Most of the people taking those classes do so in order to get or maintain professional certification, says Red Cross Executive Director Jennifer Pennington – but the courses are available for everyone.

In fact, the Red Cross is expecting to soon begin teaching a class called “Citizen CPR,” a simpler, non-certification class designed to give everyone basic life-saving skills.

“We’d love more people in the community to take these classes, because we’d love for more people to know what to do,” Pennington adds.

The investment of time for these classes is minimal, especially when weighed against the potential benefit of saving someone’s life. If more people will use the heartbreaking loss of a beautiful little girl as the final push to get such education, Jayden Kern’s untimely death will have a meaning that lasts far longer than balloons or rock-gardens.

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