Speaker 0 00:00:08 Welcome back to episode three of the NDPA water safety podcasts. How you doing today, Laura?
Speaker 1 00:00:15 I'm fine. I'm fine. Just another, another day in Paris. Are you not
Speaker 0 00:00:21 Satisfied with your mic position or something?
Speaker 1 00:00:24 Um, I'm getting, I'm going to be fine. It's going to be all right. I think for sure, because I have like two of my favorite people that I get to stare out for the next, however many minutes. So I'll be fine. No matter what happens with my mic, everything's going to be happy before
Speaker 0 00:00:35 We bring Alyssa. And I want to ask you one question there. How many times a day do you say it's just going to be okay. We're just going to be all right.
Speaker 1 00:00:42 Um, I'd say it's a mantra so much that I don't even notice it and that I actually say it out loud and um, often may be like at a grocery store or something and I'm like, it's going to be okay. They're looking at me like, I'm fine. What's wrong with you? I'm like, oh, sorry. We said out loud. I'm so sorry about that. If you needed the message, I need it at all times.
Speaker 0 00:00:59 You know, it, it used to be, my friends used to say during the month of, uh, we were getting ready for the conference, I would just start saying, everything's fine. Everything's fine. Everything's fine. But it never stopped after
Speaker 1 00:01:13 I thank you so much for that. Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:01:15 You're welcome. All right. We're going to bring our guests today. Alyssa Mangrum in. I am so excited to have Alyssa backroom here. You know, when Laura and I first started talking about the podcast and what we were going to do with this podcast, you know, Laura, you threw out let's focus on people's water safety story. What's the story behind, um, what they do. And I got to tell you, the first guest I thought of was Alyssa Mangrum because I just love her. I love what she does. I love the energy she brings. Um, and I'm just so interested to hear her story. So welcome, Melissa. Good to have you with us tonight.
Speaker 1 00:01:52 I was going to say really quickly, Adam is going to say as a part of that, you know, we talked about our webinars series is a bit more on the educational, you know, spectrum. And that's where we really wanted to, especially if people are only listening versus looking at video to hear this, and we've talked so much in this space about that balance between education and storytelling and telling our stories. And if there's one thing that is common throughout all of drowning prevention, is that pretty much everyone involved has a story. And if you really look into it, if anybody's listening, do yourself a favor over the next week and talk and ask people, most of them have seen a water rescue at the beach. They've seen, you know, they've had a drowning incident or they've been, you know, they've been touched by it somehow.
Speaker 1 00:02:38 Um, and so hearing those stories is so important to convey, um, why people are really in this space because it is a complex problem, you know, and I actually, whenever I'm talking about drowning prevention or water safety anywhere, I always start with a story and I choose always one of the families United stories. Okay. And one of them, I, you know, just the other day at, um, a country club, I was talking about Colin and I was talking about his story. And I was saying to them, the importance there he is best day ever. And I was talking to them about their policies. And so, you know, but I start with the story, which always brings people in and then you can get to sort of all the technicalities and things like that. Right. And what you're really trying to accomplish. But it really helps to also set the moment and get people to understand let's, we're not just talking about what, whether kids should wear bracelets based on swimming ability, you know, and it kind of brings people to the heart of the matter. It's like, this is what we're really talking about here. And then you can bring them back right. To the types of <inaudible>
Speaker 2 00:03:42 It's got to be personal, it's got
Speaker 1 00:03:44 To test, it does need. So I am very excited for Alyssa story because it is not a story where it was your own family member or your own child, but there was another deep connection there that led you to this space. And then of course, the person that you are that we all know you to be, and being someone who gives all of herself, even so much of herself to everyone else around her, including everyone else in this space. Um, she also serves on our advisory board as well. And you know, Alyssa is a wealth of knowledge and information. She's the co-chair
Speaker 0 00:04:14 Of the NDCA advisory council. And I was just thinking in my head, like all the stuff Alyssa does, she's the executive director at Collins, hope she plays a role in the Texas driving prevention Alliance helps with our conference. Planning helps with families United leading member of families United, um, you know, participating in the U S water safety action plan development. Um, and Alyssa, I'm sure you could rattle off like a hundred other things you do. So, okay. And
Speaker 1 00:04:39 Speaks a lot of your language at, with the research-based work that Alyssa does, you know, and so I know we're going to get into your story, but you know, she really takes us a space. And, and the last thing I will say is that when we talk about sharing each other's information, Adam, I think at this point, almost everything we've done, we always talk about not recreating the wheel. Well, Alyssa, we realized the very first incident of this was realizing how many water watcher cards, water, safety cards, water that were out there, and that everyone is creating their own card. Alyssa created a card, it was research that was done so well. And she said, well, wait a minute. Why don't we just Cobram this? So now basically Alyssa has another job where she now produces these cards for everybody in their brother. Yeah. So if you guys are looking, we can also send it, you see that it's got all the information. I mean, Alyssa researched the material, the size, the way it was done down to every card, it was peace, like letter on that thing to make sure that it was working properly. And so now everybody uses her card. And so that was a great example of one of the first and most successful, frankly, you know, within this space of sharing really great information. So now
Speaker 2 00:06:01 <inaudible>, you know, what's so funny about that. The research of this actual piece is we researched so many materials because we wanted something that was waterproof so that it could be around the pool. We S we like soaked different pieces of material in water for multiple days to see what stood up. So, I mean, you're totally spot on it. There was a process it's like, now the paint says, yes, I know.
Speaker 1 00:06:30 I know. So why, when somebody is taking all of this time, all of this work to look at all of these incredibly, you know, somebody else might overlook details. Why have someone spend their time doing that when they can be spending their time working in another area of drowning prevention or working in a space that frankly, the part of it that maybe they liked better, or they're more interested in when, oh, this has gone to this. And that was really, I, again, really, when I think the first example of what we were all trying to talk about for a few years about, you know, we were finally able to put something together and say, see, this is what it looks like. If you come together and work together. And you know, now some more things have happened since then, but you know, this was really a real, sort of a novel thing in our space. It was so siloed. And this was the way that the family said, here's how we can work with everybody. Here's the kinds of things that we do individually really well, that we can share, you know, and go from there. So again, now that we've spent all this time talking about how wonderful was it is we will actually introduce you to Alyssa and let you talk to her.
Speaker 2 00:07:35 All right. So is that my cute as fuck? Um, okay, well, so it's interesting because my water safety story, I thought about it a lot, actually this morning, I'm on a bike ride, which is where I do a lot of my thinking is running biking or swimming. And I thought about what is, where did my, why water story begin? I mean, if you look at me, I've got, you know, water related tattoos all over my body. I've got, um, I'm a, I'm a competitive triathlete. I spent a lot of time in doing distance swimming in the lake. Um, and, and I was thinking about where did my beginnings of, of being in the water start? And I don't, I don't even know if I had swimming lessons as a child. I just know that age two. Um, I have this scar on the bottom of my chin.
Speaker 2 00:08:20 We were in Myrtle beach, South Carolina, and I jumped off a diving board and I hit my chin on the board. And, um, that was my first water water related trauma, um, was hitting my chin on the board. But I don't remember if I actually had swimming lessons, my earliest picture, my favorite picture of myself is on the beach. Um, I grew up around water. I grew up at the pool. I mean it, the pool we would spend all day long at the pool. I spent lots of time under the lifeguard chair bench, which they used to do that when you got in trouble, they stuck you in here to sit under the lifeguard chair. But I don't actually know if I had swimming lessons and the world that we work in, where swimming lessons are a layer of protection against drowning. I am realizing what a privileged swimming lessons are, first of all.
Speaker 2 00:09:03 And I don't even remember if I had them. I know, I, I know I'm very comfortable in the water sometimes more so than on the land. And I know that I spent a lot of time in the water in my childhood and growing up, I was on the dive team. And then I made my way to triathlon in my adult years. And I race off-road triathlons now and do a perimeter sorting. But my story with how I got involved in this space, um, began with, um, Collin POLST. And, um, not because I knew Colin, but because my now 16 year old daughter, who's driving by the way, which is frightening. Um, my 16 year old daughter was three at the time and she was in a preschool and I got a phone call from the owner of the preschool because I worked at another nonprofit organization in town and we had lots of counselors and social workers, and it was a Saturday morning.
Speaker 2 00:09:52 I'll never forget this phone call. I know exactly where I was on the highway driving. Um, and the owner said we had a student drown yesterday at the preschool, Collin. Um, our teachers are a mess. Can you help us get some counselors over here to debrief them? And in that moment, my first thing was, of course, let me just reach out and start contacting my therapist, friends and counselor friends, and get some people over there. But then I had this very visceral body wake up, call parental horrible feeling that was like, oh my gosh, my daughter, Ella was three. Um, now she could swim across the pool at the time, but I had never thought that drowning was something that we needed to think about as a family. And suddenly it got real close. It got in our preschool and I didn't know Colin, but I knew all of a sudden there was a, he was a year older and I'm like all of a sudden someone in her peer group drowned, it was like, whoa, what do I?
Speaker 2 00:10:46 So I, uh, you know, that was my entry. Um, Collin drown on June 13th, 2008, I got that phone call the next morning, um, on the ninth. And then we, um, they started calling soap three months later in August. And I got involved as a volunteer or one of the very first things that they did as an organization was, um, have a trapline, a kid's triathlon to raise funds and awareness. And I am a triathlete. So I'm like I got involved in that and then got involved in all the things, water safety walk. And, um, and for two years just it was an organization that didn't have a strategic plan. They didn't know exactly what they were going to do, but they knew they that Jeff and Janna Colin's parents knew that they had lost their son to something that was preventable and they didn't want any other family to lose a child to something that was preventable.
Speaker 2 00:11:33 So as a parent, I wanted on board with that. And as a lover of water, I live by the lake. So my story in drowning prevention began with Collins drowning, um, and th and you know, it is so crazy of, of how many ways and intersections now that my world is wrapped this whole water safety and drowning prevention, my personal world in my trapline racing, I'm an athlete ambassador to prevent drowning. And it's a platform that I use to communicate that no one's drowned proof, my own personal. I was telling Adam when we were prepping for this, I'm like, how did you even know that I almost drowned, um, a couple of years ago in a race. And he didn't know that. And that's a story that I share because, um, it, it goes into that no one is drown proof piece. So, um, my story again, began as a volunteer with Colin soap.
Speaker 2 00:12:23 And then after I had hip surgery and did a big fundraiser swam for miles to raise funds and awareness for column soap. And it was a survival goal for me after hip surgery, cause I couldn't bike or run. Um, they decided as an organization that they, after two and a half years of all volunteer led that they wanted an executive director so that they could make a bigger impact in this space and they could do more. So they asked me to do it and I did some soul searching. And after, you know, after doing that soul searching, I left my very stable job of 10 years that had great benefits and a 401k and lots of all the things, um, to take a little bit of a leap, a Cannonball really into this world and said, you know what? This is a chance to make a bigger difference. Um, by helping the organization get started, I had just gotten my master's degree in organizational leadership and ethics. So for me, it was an opportunity that, oh, I could use that and, and put it into play. And this, this Collins hope would be my sort of laboratory. Uh, my daughter was in kindergarten at the time. And, and Laura, I know, you know this because you have kids like the kindergarten, you're at the school for every, like every day. There's some thing that you need to show up for. And so it was selfish.
Speaker 2 00:13:41 Yes, I'm here every day. Yeah. So it wasn't a chance for me. This was my plan. I was like, oh, I'll do this for five years. I will do this for five years. I'm going to get them started. I may get them a strategic plan going to get some sustainability and funding and some programming and evaluate things. And then I'll step away. I'll do something else like five years. So this past December 13th, um, I celebrated my 10 year anniversary as the executive director of called soaps. So the whole five-year plan didn't quite happen because I got in it. I got in it. So I'm deeply in, and I know more than I, I don't want to waste what I know in this space. And I think that's something that I, um, my story is now it's so deep. It's, it's the families and families United that we work really for. Um, and, and then all the, all the generation that we're trying to raise to be safer around water and this whole culture of safety, water, safety, changing our culture. I feel like it's, uh, it's, it's a call. It's a call. It's not a job. I mean, it's certainly a job. It's a lot of hours, but it's also a higher purpose. It's a higher thing. So for sure, I don't know.
Speaker 1 00:14:55 One of the things that I think is interesting about your story too, and that, you know, maybe now, or a different part in this, um, podcast we can talk about is your involvement in the triathlon space, because you know, my husband being a triathlon, you know, doing triathlons and things like that too, you know, I mean, he's a very competent swimmer, but they're most triathletes have that fear, especially around the open water swim, because they, you get kicked in the head. It is like a free for all. And there are also, as you know, um, not all races are created equal when it comes to safety. I mean, I was at the dumped two tough Mudders and I was at the one tough Mudder where someone drowned and died and died later. Technically it was, you know, they, they died later. Um, but people were not, you know, I mean, you're jumping in fully clothed to a very, very deep usually.
Speaker 1 00:15:44 I mean, it's, it's, uh, it's, uh, it's not temperature controlled, you know, and, and people don't realize how much, how far down, even me, very confident swimmer competence, swimmer. I, I mean, you plunge it extremely deep into the water cause you're jumping from very high place and you're fully close and I could see absolutely how someone would struggle in that. And they're not having an idea. So, you know, I know for you, again, we can do this later, but to me that's a unique, but very important and very interesting part of who you are and a very deep piece, because so many people, especially with what's going on now, it's such a big thing to do races and triathlons with swimming. And when you have, especially that open water component, it's a different ball game. Oh, totally.
Speaker 2 00:16:30 And it's, and it's a space that for me and my racing, so my local races, our race director allows me to do a safety speech before every single race at the water's edge. I recorded a video that they send out to people when they register that's around water safety, um, I'm working, they let the whole Exterra, which are the races that I do. I'm in talks have been for years with the people at the top there to do something, um, in that space I have visions and this is my own personal stuff with USA, triathlon of helping them get cause race directors don't know what they don't know and exactly what you're saying. Things are not created, created equal across the board. And, um, and it costs money to provide the appropriate safety, the open water certified lifeguards, they, you know, not just throwing some volunteer and a kayak out. And, um, so there's a whole, that's a whole nother, I don't even want to go down there cause I can talk about that for, um, the rest of this time.
Speaker 2 00:17:26 We should do that for well, I would like to share my, my almost drowning story because I do think it's something that has, um, it happened two years ago and I was at the, um, Xterra world championships in Maui Hawaii. And the swim is on a beautiful beach at Kapalua and it's, it's, what's an M swim. So are start on the shore and you have to go in and you fight the waves and you get through the waves and you swim out to a buoy and then you kind of come back in, you can surf the waves. If you're comfortable doing that and you get out on the shore, you run down the beach, you get back in and go out again, you fight the surf and you go out to another buoy and then you come back in and then you run up to transitioning again on the bike.
Speaker 2 00:18:09 And this particular morning where we got in on the first part, the surf was about the waves were about four or five feet high, which is totally fine. I'm comfortable. I surf I'm very comfortable in the ocean. Um, and so got in, did fine, got out, ran on the beach and went to get in on the next, on the second part. And the surf was huge. I mean, it was huge. And I had so much adrenaline and I didn't do what I tell other people to do. I, I should've waited for these waves to calm down a little bit, but I went and I literally got, um, pummeled by three waves over and over. And the first one, um, these were waves that were, I had Kim Tyson who you guys both know, but he trains beach lifeguards. I had him look at the pictures afterwards to tell me how big the surf was.
Speaker 2 00:18:55 And he thinks it was about 15 feet high waves and they were not rollers. So they were, they were basically going crashing straight down. So you get, you know, you have rolling waves. And these were like, boom, boom. And I got stuck, right. I got stuck under right where it was crashing. And I, you know, I know what you're supposed to do. You're supposed to get to the bottom and calm and, and, but I got spun around and I didn't know which way was up. When I finally came up after the first one, there was another one coming straight down. So I went back under, but I couldn't get deep enough to get where I wasn't tumbled. So I got tumbled again. Second time came back up again and there was, um, another, a third wave and I did the same thing and I was at the bottom.
Speaker 2 00:19:39 I, I absolutely remember being at the bottom thinking, I'm going to drown and this is not like the water safety lady is going to drown. And I really kind of, I relaxed and that's what I should have done on the first moment. And I relaxed and somehow came up and there was a clearing in the set and I had so much adrenaline. I just started swimming and I finished the race and got out in about two weeks late. I didn't have time to process that at the time. Cause there was a lot going on with friends that I was there with who were injured and in the medical tent and all this stuff. But about two weeks later I got home and I was in a movie theater and I was seeing a movie and there was a scene where there's a dad and a son surfing.
Speaker 2 00:20:16 And there was a really loud crashing wave. And I had a full-on anxiety attack in the middle of the movie theater. And I couldn't figure out what it was then I just said, oh my gosh, this is that this is that race. Like I I'm tr PTSD. I went through EMDR therapy and I had to do some really big deep work because I had had a traumatic experience. And, um, I share that because people think that even the strongest swimmers are drown proof and we're not. And I tell that that I tell this to racers. I tell this to people at the beach, but it was, uh, it was, I mean, this was almost, this was nine years into my water safety world. And, um, and it was a huge thing. And it's something that I've had to process for myself. And some of being in the water safety world's kick kicked it up. So it's, it's uh, um, this whole water safety is not just the little kids, you know, it's not just it's I, if I've learned one thing it's that drowning has no boundaries or barriers, not race, not age, not gender, not socioeconomic status and not swimming ability. There are certain things, certainly more high risk, but yeah, we
Speaker 1 00:21:25 Have the same. Go ahead. It doesn't discriminate. We have a, at least on the Delaware store and the Maryland shore, um, one of the things we've, and this is way before me ever getting involved in water safety, drowning prevention. One of the things that you have to teach your kids very early on is how to spot a rip, a rip current. And they have them, they have these signs everywhere. And like, I, one of my proudest moment, actually, as a mom, like after being in water safety was watching my kids teach other kids. Yeah. There it is, teach other kids what a rip looks like. And I saw them pointing it out and doing it. And I was like, yes, like, but one time I was caught in a rip again, way before. And it's, we, we didn't have 15 feet, but the Delaware shore, you can get some big waves.
Speaker 1 00:22:07 And I did not know anything and I you've been, and I was completely caught. I don't know how I knew this instinctively, but instinctively, I let my body just go limp, completely limp. And I literally just let the wave and let the rip just let it all take me. And I remember having a visual of, of, um, a rope tied around my legs, like in maybe like a boat and pulling me. I mean, the way that I was, my body was pulled and whipped around was disturbing, you know? And I was my size, I'm five, nine. I'm not a little teeny thing. And I was, there was no possible way that I ever would have been able to get out of that. And I remembered it so clearly. And so when I was involved in water safety, uh, it was a very big thing for me, for my kids to see it.
Speaker 1 00:22:56 And one of the kids' things, again, if anyone's listening, my kids like to do, if the wa they now will actually go get life vests and bring them into the ocean. Cause they think it's fun. Cause the light vessel shoot you out of the wave. You know, like it's not, I mean, sometimes my kids are just, it's not even that bad at all. And they're just been the Lenfest. Cause I think it's fun, which is great. And other kids will ask us, we had to buy all these life vests at the beach because everybody wants one. I'm like, this is, this is amazing for me. I'm so happy people are asking for like fasteners, but you know, it really is. You've got your, your pool and spa, but then you've got your sort of lakes. Then you've got different issues with your rivers, with your oceans. And the more we, we want people to enjoy it. And that's why we're doing this, but we're just trying to give people those facts. Sure.
Speaker 0 00:23:43 Yeah. So, uh, Alyssa, I want, um, ask you, cause you know, you just shared a very personal story about, you know, your own drowning experience, but I know this is something that we don't talk about a lot and um, you know, is those of us who are in this work, but haven't experienced a loss to a drowning. This is hard work. Um, because there's, there's really not a lot of positives, right. You know, we're talking and putting up a very happy and positive message around water safety and drowning prevention, but we don't really get a statistic every summer that shows how many lives were saved. We just get a statistic that shows how many lives were lost. And I know you and I have had this discussion about how much, how difficult that work is. Um, you know, especially when you're surrounded by grief constantly.
Speaker 0 00:24:30 Um, you know, so I wanted to dive into that just a little bit and you know, kind of ways to, of when you're, you know, working in the water safety, drowning prevention community, you also have to take care of yourself because there's, this is, this is difficult to talk to. I can't tell you how many times I've just answered a phone call, you know, random phone number come up. And it's a family who just experienced a drama and need someone to talk to. And that's, that's hard. Right. You know, you kind of just, and I've now, and I'm wondering if you do the same, like as soon as I see a phone number, I don't know. I brace myself if I'm going to answer it.
Speaker 2 00:25:09 Yeah. So, well, so couple of things, one is mine's not necessarily like a phone number that I see that I don't know, but I have my contact at the Texas department of family and protective services, who is who we work together on the data. And whenever I see him calling me, um, I used to be where I had to be in the right place to answer his call. And he would then text me and be like, Alyssa, I know you're sitting there and I know, you know, I'm calling and I know, you know, why, because he was calling to tell me about a drowning. And now I've gotten to the place where, because I've been doing some really big work with myself and I will talk about a little bit about that, of what you asked originally is I can answer the phone now and I can talk to him. Um, and I've, I've developed some really healthy boundaries and strategies around it. But, um, if you, so as I'm trying to think of which one it is, so this is like the tattoos show here, but I have this tattoo, which is you can't really see
Speaker 1 00:26:03 Glad to see
Speaker 2 00:26:04 It's a Seaglass heart and there's spaces in between. And that's sort of my grief, um, tattoo. It's the, you know, the wound is how the light gets in that quote. And that is something that I lean really deeply into in working with these families, whether it's a phone call of a family locally who just had a drowning or families that are part of families United, um, I definitely have had some major, um, it it's all right here and there's some criticism in the, in the drowning, but I'm just gonna name it. Um, because I haven't lost a child or almost lost a child to drowning that I, that, that being in this space. And I will tell you that I don't have that 100%. Um, I have a different experience and I have experienced of, um, representing a family, supporting a FA for supporting multiple families, um, sort of carrying some of this in a different way for some of those families and then trying to be also, um, a voice of, okay.
Speaker 2 00:27:02 So a different perspective to, okay. How do you turn that tragedy into triumph and how do you do programs and how do you do things that work and how do you line up together and collaborate so that no one else loses a child, but I will say that this is, this is really hard work from every which way. I mean, I used to wake up in the mornings and I would pick up my phone and I would read my drowning reports that came in in the overnight. And then I would close out my day at the end of my day. The last thing that I would do was read the drowning reports. Well, thank you, therapy. And, um, it, the EMDR and some of that, I, um, had to change and put some boundaries around it. And there are some things that I've had to do for myself, um, to really protect myself because it's been almost 11 years of this job job, but most, almost 13 years of being in the space and it's hard, it's heavy, it's hard.
Speaker 2 00:27:55 And I carry all of these families that we work with with an incredible amount of respect and honor, uh, for the legacy of their loved ones, but also it's, it is tough. And when, like we had a couple of drownings over the weekend that were not in central Texas, we, I did media interview after media interview, leading up to Memorial day. And thankfully I don't believe haven't seen any, that we had any in our direct area, but there were two, um, to both, uh, a six year old and a 12 year old that were not in the water, but they were standing on the bank fishing. And then another one and another one that was, um, at the, like at a body of water and they both fell into the water and we had two drownings that were, that were in Texas. And, um, those are so hard, still, it's so hard, but it is so important
Speaker 3 00:28:45 To
Speaker 1 00:28:47 You're. So right, Alyssa and, you know, for me, my, my, uh, experience having had a non-fatal and I, you know, Adam and I, we seem to have, um, come up with a little bit of a formula over the years. And we see that like a lot of people get involved in this and they go really hard, really fast, you know, and we, and there's always finally a crash. Everyone has a crash and then, you know, it depends on when it is, and then they either stay in the space or the, and they figure out the boundaries and they do that, or they leave the space is usually kind of where it goes. But for me, that my issue that I used to dry drive myself into the ground with what survivor's guilt and I would work all these people. And I felt like I had to work twice as hard to honor the children that had been lost because I, I, you know, cause was not lost there's it?
Speaker 1 00:29:43 He was watching clay. And, but what I was really, there was two driving factors for me being involved in this full three. But one was that I never wanted anyone to take that helicopter ride that I did. Um, it wasn't, you know, I always tried to say the feeling was like, it was not human because it's really not a feeling that anyone should ever experience. Okay. And most, a lot of people don't and you shouldn't ever experience it. The other piece being has been the aftermath and what it still has done to my family. 10 years later, we still have issues. Whether it's learning issues with clay, whether it's issues between the siblings, whether it's PTSD, they call it. Now, I just got a new term, which I just learned is called C PTSD, which is complex post-traumatic stress disorder, which is usually people that have had, um, more than one event or repeated events over time.
Speaker 1 00:30:36 So for me personally, there was events in my childhood that had nothing to do with this. And then there's now this and then, and some other things that have gone on top of each other. So I'm actually ironically looking into EMDR lately. Cause I said, this is there's just some blocks there. But what I realized was is that I was really, um, driving myself into the ground. And at the end of the day here, I was doing this representing the life that, that did go on that Clay's life went on, but I wasn't paying any attention to my own family because I was so busy doing this work, doing good work. And it was my, it was almost my therapy for this. Right. But I wasn't actually totally saying I wasn't not paying attention to my family, but I wasn't actually cause the stuff at home was so hard and not fun and difficult to be around that.
Speaker 1 00:31:28 It just was, um, difficult that the last piece of that being, um, I think that, you know, if you think about like the substance abuse space, you have to have professionals involved in this space. You can't just have people that have experienced something. So imagine if you had nobody who is a professional, treating people with substance abuse, you know, so it's the same thing here. As our space grows, we have to have different types of people involved in space. And many of them will not have had a personal experience where this is sort of similar to the substance abuse space is most people have had some type of touch to that. Most people have had some type of water, you know, even if they were just a witness, but the more we grow, the more we need people who have not had a direct family member and be the professionals in this space to actually help make an impact on this cause.
Speaker 2 00:32:27 Well, yeah, and I think that is interesting as I kind of look at my own journey through water safety and where I stand and you guys were mentioning a bunch of the things that I'm involved in. I have figured out that I a master's degree in leadership and ethics, I have non-profit background. I have all the things that I do to run this organization. Those are spaces. I have an obsession with evaluation and data, as you mentioned, and making sure that we're evaluating programs so that they're impacting and changing them if they're not. And, um, I have found that those are the spaces where I can be of most service in this, in this place. And I can certainly be a shoulder or an ear or a, um, a soft landing space for our family, but that's not where I'm trained. Like we have a collaborations set up with the Christi center here in Austin.
Speaker 2 00:33:13 Um, so that when those phone calls come in to me and I have a family, we have a referral for support and counseling. Cause that I realized that it's not me, I'm not a trainer, but where I do sit in terms of bringing that expertise is in the, in the management side of things, but with a, with a kind of compassionate heart to sow and an understanding and now, um, you know, so it's, it's a very interesting, it's interesting to see what do I bring? I constantly am looking at, what do I bring to the table in this space? How can I bring more of myself in a professional way and how do we move? How do we bring those things to move drowning prevention, um, forward as a professional entity so that we can make the real shifts and changes like other like seatbelt safety and all the other things that have like public health science behind them. You know, that's something that has to be more and more prevalent. So yeah, no,
Speaker 1 00:34:10 Adam too real quick, I'm going to transition to you Adam, but one of the things you're talking about here, and I'm so glad we're talking about this piece, because even us sharing our experience of this over the past 10 years is going to help people because they might be earlier on in this and maybe we can give them a warning. Hey, set those boundaries. Now we can even think Alyssa offline. We can even throw each other a couple of quick tips in the list. You know, that we could stick in the resource center at NDPA because these are all things that have definitely become a pattern. No doubt. I can think of five other people that it experiences. In some cases, people did go to substance abuse, you know, and, and another piece too, is that honestly, a lot of people involved in the nonprofit space, we're, we're empathic people.
Speaker 1 00:34:51 Some people are actually impacts. Okay. I mean, some people are, these are kind and caring people that exactly. And when you have, when you're that's, that, by the way, does not mean that people who are not empathic are bad people or don't have feelings. I'm just saying that some people, the difference is this, the difference is some people absorb other people's feelings and some people are able to hear and listen, but not absorb it into their own. And I did not realize that that was me. I, but I was already setting boundaries with myself after I had children. I could no longer watch the five, six o'clock news. I could not watch the, what was going on around me to families and children and all these things. I had to get it off because I, all of a sudden couldn't watch these, these horrors. And, you know, I didn't realize, I mean, I would cry at night thinking about the child that was left in the hot car that day.
Speaker 1 00:35:43 You know, I would find myself thinking about the father, thinking about the mother and wondering, oh my God, they were exhausted or whatever it was, you know, and just empathizing to the point where it was debilitating for me. So I didn't know that I was already putting boundaries in place by changing the way that I got my news. And I think that's an important thing for people to understand these days, you need to go out to the world and get your news, because if you feel the news, you need to make sure that you're getting it where you're getting it, how you're getting it when you're getting it. And it's not assaulting you with notifications, you don't have it on, in your house all the time. And because it will seep into your brain and your world. And I'll say to Adam, and to come right to you.
Speaker 1 00:36:22 One of the things that I think is so great about, um, I mean, I know, I think we're all great. The three of us on the screen, it just, just saying people listening, but one thing that's so awesome about Adam too, is that, and in a very important, very important, uh, thing, uh, general comment for people involved in these spaces is to know, like you said, Alyssa, sort of where your expertise starts and where it stops also. No, no, it's okay that you don't. I have certain experience. So Adam doesn't have children. Adam will come to me sometimes. I mean, now he really knows, but sometimes when he's got something on his mind or sometimes when he's not sure he wants to bounce something off me, how do you think this parent might feel? You know, Adam will come to me and more often than not Adam, you know, it's more than that just needs to be reassured.
Speaker 1 00:37:11 He already knows the answer, but sometimes I might explain to him when we are faced sometimes with very angry grief that, you know, sometimes we see angry grief or we see people getting really involved in spaces of water safety after a drowning that we might be concerned about, or they might not know. You know, Adam asked me a couple summers ago, I said, do you have to understand something? And it changed his whole perspective. You told me, Adam, I said, you have to understand when, when clay drown, I had one obsession and one obsession only that he needed to be buoyant. And I remember saying that exactly act word, like I needed. I needed from every soul, every part of my body for him to be buoyant. And I was not going to be able to be like a whole person then until that happened, you know, it was a desperation.
Speaker 1 00:38:03 And so, you know, to understand sometimes when people are going into things right, that they're coming at it from a various in a different place. And I remember Adam took that information into this very important meeting that he had to go into that was, had a lot of high stakes. There happened to be a very high profile person involved in the meeting. And he told me later, I took that in with me and that really resonated. So I commend you Adam to, you know, um, because again, he knows where his expertise and stops. And when we know that that's, we can truly work together best and communicate our message, you know, the most, yeah. You add, well,
Speaker 0 00:38:44 I'm going to throw it back to Alyssa cause I know we gotta wrap this up. Um, so let's, I'm going to ask you two questions
Speaker 1 00:38:50 Here. I
Speaker 0 00:38:52 I'd love to, but uh, um, you know, we've got the world of driving pension to get back. Okay,
Speaker 1 00:39:00 Great. You know, it will help one person, right? Oh Alyssa,
Speaker 0 00:39:04 What is one thing you wish our audience knew about you and Colin's hope, and then what's one thing you would change if you had the power to, you know, wave a magic wand and change something in water safety, drowning prevention, what would you change? Ooh, like all the
Speaker 3 00:39:20 Money in the world versus good.
Speaker 2 00:39:22 That's the first one first. So, um, that's the wait. Say it again. Cause that you can't give me two things at one time. I need to,
Speaker 0 00:39:29 What's one thing you wish people knew about you and, or Colin's hope.
Speaker 2 00:39:34 Okay. So Colin soap exists with a very simple and focused mission. Our hedgehog, thank you, Jim Collins, and good to great. But, um, and that is to educate parents and caregivers and children about how to be safer around water, right? So how that is the one we are invested in developing and refining Reese, our resources, our tools, whether it's our water safety cards or our bilingual book, or our bookmark with how to do your water safety rules as a family or our brand new thing. We worked with a girl scout, which is on open water safety. No, no matter what we do at Colin soap, we, that is our, we want to educate to prevent drowning parents and caregivers. And so we will do that in whatever ways we can that are gonna make an impact. And so perfect example, we're working on this partnership with a group called pairs in America, which is, uh, you know, they bring old parents from yeah.
Speaker 2 00:40:33 And we're working with them on developing a toolkit for pairs and host families to talk about water safety. And like that was a pivot. We're going to do it because it's going to educate that group. And that is, I believe that we believe at Colin soap, that education from the earliest of age of children and all the way up through all the caregivers from parents expecting parents to grandparents and everything in between nannies, babysitters, AU pairs that, that education around this is something you need to think about. Here are the simple things that you do. And th these are the behaviors we want you to practice learn about the water safety, talk about water, safety, practice, water safety, and that's what can prevent drowning. So that's where our focus is. We develop partnerships. I, and we'll develop a partnership with the man on the moon.
Speaker 2 00:41:21 If the man on the moon is invested in that and, and getting moving that forward. And so that's kind of what at Collins hope, you know, we have a curriculum, we have a book, we have all these tools and resources that we will continually, and then we will work to get those groups educated. And so that's, that's kind of, our are very focused. We do a lot of things and we're in a lot of places, but we're super focused on that is our, um, that's our mission and that's our hedgehog. Um, so there's that. So then what was the second question? One thing about you,
Speaker 0 00:41:55 Yeah, go ahead. One thing about you that you wish people would know.
Speaker 2 00:41:59 Oh, um, I think there's actually water in my chlorinated, chlorinated lake water, salt, water, salt water in my veins versus, you know, some people bleed chlorine. I would rather be in the open water. Um, so maybe, maybe that's it, but no, it's like, I, I can am very authentic. I'm very much, um, believe in so much deeply at my core in this work. Um, but really also in the fact that we really can change our culture, just like we did with seatbelts. I do believe that we are, um, with every fiber of my body, that we are working towards that, and then it's happening and I'm committed to it. Whether it says the executive director of Colin soap or years down the road of something, I will never be not in the water safety space. There's too much knowledge and experience to, to waste that on. Not so
Speaker 1 00:42:55 Family, we're a family, that's it, we're a family. And people say I'm all heart, but Alyssa, you're all love. There's you. That's what I would say. That what you just said, you are all love all the time. Like it's, it's, it's, it's part of who you are at all times. And you know, that is, uh, you know, I mean, we met at the first, we fell in love the first time we met. I mean, it was like the odd couple to a certain degree, you know, she's like, like biking somewhere. And I rented like a convertible in Fort Lauderdale. I had like 17.
Speaker 2 00:43:28 Yeah. Well you told me to the airport in the convertible, so yeah.
Speaker 1 00:43:32 And she had like a knapsack, you know, I was staying in like a big room and the thing she's staying in, like, I don't even know where she's staying like in a tent or
Speaker 2 00:43:39 Something. Oh no. <inaudible> we were joking around. Yeah. That was a crappy little hotel that it was cheaper. And I had to have someone walk me home at night. Cause y'all were afraid of my point
Speaker 1 00:43:54 Is, is that you really, if there's something that people would know about you, you are all love all over it. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:44:01 But I'm not always okay. And that is something that I am, I read permission to feel that it's okay to not be okay. And that's something that I'm really, really working on. And, um, and I think that is something that's so important to, I don't care what space you're in is that that is very real. Like, I may look like sunshine and love all the time, but I am not always okay. And I think that's something that's very real about me that I'm willing to say out loud now, so. Okay. Cause I know it wasn't just about me. I
Speaker 0 00:44:33 Know 2, 2, 2, 2 last things. Uh, and you can make this a short response if you want. Um, I'll give you a magic wand to change something in water safety. What is one thing you check out? We lost Alyssa. Oh no. She went away and we lost Laura. Did I lose internet? <inaudible>
Speaker 4 00:45:54 Strange. So weird. <inaudible>
Speaker 0 00:46:21 Alyssa. Can you hear me? <inaudible> But why are you in the green room? You shouldn't be in the green room. Yeah. All right. I got you back, Laura. I don't know why. I don't know what happened to Alyssa.
Speaker 1 00:47:11 All right. I'm going to X her out. I think it's ECAN and has to be, but you know, he can, but the
Speaker 0 00:47:18 Strangest thing is like, nothing happened on my end. Like I stayed here. The recording is still going everything.
Speaker 1 00:47:26 Oh, well it, we lost first and then it cut me out. Then it lost me. So it has to be there. Right. She's
Speaker 0 00:47:35 Back. Let me add her. All right. I have no idea. We're still,
Speaker 1 00:47:41 It dropped you and me. Um, but w we were, you were just describing, let's finish that last piece. I'm
Speaker 0 00:47:48 Gonna, I'm going to finish it cause list. I know you gotta run. Um, oh
Speaker 2 00:47:51 No. I just looked at my email and she's fine. So if I have 10 or 10 more minutes.
Speaker 1 00:47:56 Okay. So, um, we'll just,
Speaker 0 00:47:58 We'll just pick back up and I'll snip at the video. Um,
Speaker 2 00:48:03 Yeah. So
Speaker 0 00:48:05 If I give you a magic wand and you get to change one thing in water safety, what's one thing you would change.
Speaker 2 00:48:14 I, okay. This is actually perfect. I would take my magic wand, actually have a snow globe that has a Lama in it, which I wish I had right here. Cause I would shake it up and that would be my thing. But, um, I would say that when we have expectant parents than they are at their obese office, getting ready to have their child, that water safety is something that enters in the conversation before the child is even in the world. And I just talked to my, my doctor at my annual visit last week about this, um, process. And we were working on a little pilot here in Austin at the 36 week appointment that expectant parents will get water safety information. And that is, I think that getting this information to parents and caregivers at the absolute soonest, I mean, certainly water safety education in the schools from every grade level.
Speaker 2 00:49:07 That's one of my magic wand wishes on the child's side, because then we're building that culture of water safety from the ground up. But then also all these places where yes, pediatricians are awesome, but I want to go before the pediatricians, before the child's even love. I love. Yeah. Yeah. So I'm working on, on that here. And so those are my pieces that water safety would be put into the conversation with our children at the earliest age, which is why we wrote this book during the pandemic, because this is the very first entree into board books for, for reading these. And we have pictures and videos of people reading these grandparents that reading their books to their infants. And it's like water safety has entered the conversation that early. And then also for parents and caregivers who didn't get the privilege of having this information in their earliest of education or a conversation that that is brought in before, before you become a parent before you have this child in the, on the outside that you know about water safety, just like, you know, about all the other things, the car seats and the stove and the poison and the yeah.
Speaker 2 00:50:15 And then, you know, going up through the water safety is of a hum through every life cycle and every space that is my magic wand. So there's my magic wand. Shake up the little globe thing. Yeah. That's the only way,
Speaker 0 00:50:30 One last thing. And I do love your story book. You know, I tried to learn Russian during COVID and I speak no Russian, but you did a story. I love it. I don't
Speaker 2 00:50:39 Know. Well, this is not in Russian to be clear it's Spanish and English. Not trying. You are trying to learn Russian with this.
Speaker 0 00:50:47 No, no, no, no, no. I bought Babel and I tried, but you know, I guess, and then when to speak it with, but uh, no, I think I could translate the book for you eventually, but, um, it didn't work. Yeah. It didn't work out. It, it, where I do not speak Russian, um, I, I was just trying to be different. Everyone was learning Spanish or German or French and I'm like, you know, I'm going to go for Russian and you know, I tried, um, so Alyssa one last thing, and you know, I know you, you, at our, uh, one of our good friends in NDPA and at Abby's hope just started your own podcast. So I wanted to give you a moment to mention the water safety odd couple.
Speaker 2 00:51:28 Hi. Yes. Okay. So ours is not really, it's not a podcast. It's not a, we're not really sure what it is. We're doing it on, on the Collins. So Facebook page, so we do it live and then it's available on, on our, um, either on YouTube and Vimeo as a video. But yes, it is Alan corn of Abby's hope. And I, and you guys know us and Laura came up with that name because we are very, very different. Alan is a lawyer. Um, yeah. It's but we, but we both, we added up the years of experience in childhood injury prevention of we both have, and we have over 55 years of experience in this work. And so we decided that we were going to talk about things that people maybe were wanting to talk about in this space. We have our next one coming up.
Speaker 2 00:52:14 We're going to take on the whole swim lessons thing, just FYI. Um, he and I, and we're going to invite some people to the conversation, to participate on our, in the comments and, and have a conversation. Um, he, and I just decided that we, we were, we're so different and we have a good banter back and forth that what the heck, let's try it and see if we can get people. You know, it's about that. If I said before that learn about water safety, talk about water, safety, practice, water safety, prevent drowning. It's the talking about it, the more conversations we have in podcasts like this in shows like that. And the thing that Karen and, um, Megan from the Zack foundation are doing all of these conversations are creating a bigger buzz about water safety. And so, Alan and I just decided we were going to add some humor, but talk about some very serious things and also try to engage some conversation around some conversation that maybe is some dividing places in water safety.
Speaker 2 00:53:08 Cause there are some topics that are very divisive in our space and, um, for sure, willing to tackle some of that stuff. And so we're going to do it monthly Thursday mornings um, once a month, it is 8:00 AM central. My time zone 9:00 AM Eastern, his time zone, all the other, sorry to the Pacific people. It's like way early, but, um, no, it has some participation actually, and we're just really going to see if it sticks, but, and we're going to take on things that people have suggested actually, the swim lessons thing as a personal passion of mine, because I spend so much time answering people's questions around what kind of swim lessons should I get for my child and how do I choose them and what kinds are there and all that. But it was also a suggestion from Marsha Kerr. Who's in the family shaded group.
Speaker 2 00:53:53 And, um, she, she suggested that. So we're going to take that on is the next one. And then we're going to, we're going to see how long this lasts, but I'm super excited because I have so much respect for Allen and his expertise and what we were talking about, about figuring out where you fit in the space and what your expertise is in this space. He and I have dialed that in with each other. It's like, we decided it's like, okay, you're the, you got lots of legislative and lawyerly things and witty sense of humor and a whole bunch of other stuff. And I've got the, some of the nonprofity more side of things and, you know, whatever, all the things we're going to try to bring it into one space. So we did one episode and I know we, he and I had fun. We said, we're going to do it like 20 minutes. And we were way past that. So I just said, we get to do whatever we want to do. And however long people are engaged, we'll talk for as long as people are engaged in. And so that's it. We want participation.
Speaker 0 00:54:46 Don't reinforce Laura, Metro's bad behavior on timing. Don't, don't, don't do that.
Speaker 2 00:54:52 If the conversation is going, I don't want to cut off a conversation in that space where we don't have to. And that's the, that's why we chose to do it there. And we chose to do it live because neither of us are afraid of what if someone shows up and they start saying some things, both of us feel like we can handle and manage that. And, um, and, and, and, and sometimes those tough conversations have to be had, and we're willing to, we're willing to show up with our expertise and our professionalism, but also with a little bit of humor and open openness to, to have some conversations,
Speaker 1 00:55:26 No, to that. They can listen in audio mode on both, I believe YouTube and Vimeo. Like if they want to listen to it as sort of a podcast or in their car, it doesn't have to be watched. So if anyone's listening to this, you know, or watching it, it doesn't have to be just a video. They can definitely listen to it that way. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:55:42 Right. And, and in the promo, we're going to do a little promo video each week, like right before. And it's funny because I don't know if you guys saw the image that we're using, but it's me, it's a split image of me doing a Cannonball into the water and Alan reading the paper, because that is totally like the whole article. That's perfect.
Speaker 0 00:56:00 Yeah. Um, so Alyssa, before we wrap just one last thing, can you tell, um, any of our listeners, how they can get in touch with you and Colin's hope,
Speaker 2 00:56:10 Absolutely. concept.org. So our website, the contact form, I get them all, but you can also connect with us on social media. I mean, we do a lot on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, um, engage with us and ask questions. We are here as a resource. And if we don't know the answer to whatever you're asking, we have so many partnerships like with NDPA and all the families, United groups, and every partnership, I feel like that you can name it. We have the ability to direct people, help direct people to those resources. And, um, yeah. So concept.org take our water safety quiz. That's one of the things that's a very simple thing. We're approaching 13,000 people, I believe in 47 countries that have taken it. You can translate that into brushing. Um, it's an English and Spanish, but it's 10 questions. Everything from don't leave a child in the bathtub unattended to how to get out of a rip current, as we talked about and everything in between. So you can take it, share it. Um, we track it by zip code. So it's pretty amazing to see how many people have taken the quiz and you can send the link out post on your social channels. It's free. So get people
Speaker 1 00:57:17 Map of that. I'd love to see a heat map of that, of where every, like, if it's done by zip code.
Speaker 2 00:57:23 Yeah. Well, we're working on some sort of interactive map, so that should be maybe coming soon. I don't exactly know what that means, the heat map thing, but I think that's what you're talking about. So we're working on it, but yes, take the quiz app is like heat map
Speaker 1 00:57:37 Is when you see like the, you know, like concentration on a map of like how many people in different areas. So yeah. Radiate heat,
Speaker 2 00:57:44 That kind of thing. Yeah. Well, yeah. And so it's so cool because every time I do, we do a presentation. Like I trained the Iowa parks and rec like 150 of their guards and aquatic professionals a couple of weeks ago. And I always challenged them the quiz. And then all of a sudden, you see all these Iowa, Iowa, Iowa, or we have people taking them. We had some coming in from Bangladesh a couple of weeks ago, which is so awesome. So it's really cool to see how, why, because it's that learn about water safety and my little learn, talk, practice, prevent the learning piece. This is a really easy way to educate. So go take the quiz, concept.org forward slash quiz.
Speaker 0 00:58:20 Awesome. Well, Alyssa, thank you for joining us. And I have to say this as generally as possible best day ever, but thank you for LMU for water safety, because it's not just calling hope families United, um, it's the U S action plan. It's on, it's the national water safety conference. It's, you know, your local community. You're involved in water safety at every single level. I know it's a passion for you and, uh, it's a gift to work with you. Um,
Speaker 1 00:58:47 Diana and Jeff, we also want, of course, thanks, Jana and Jeff and Collin, um, for all of this and for all of the work that they do as well,
Speaker 2 00:58:56 It's their courage and all the, all the people that are in this space because they have to be in this space because of a loss is inspires me every single day. And I am honored and privileged to work alongside both of you as well. So I appreciate this conversation and I appreciate, um, what you all bring to this equation. And I'm very proud. I'm very proud and happy to be part of this world. So,
Speaker 1 00:59:21 Yes.
Speaker 0 00:59:22 Well, thank you, Alyssa, and thanks to everyone listening. Thanks for sharing your water safety story. And we'll be back next week with another edition of the NDPA water safety podcast. Okay.