Gloomy economic headlines are plentiful these days, and may be a factor in an increase in child drownings in the Valley, as families struggle to pay for pool fences, swimming lessons, and CPR education. Last year 20 children drowned in Maricopa County and half of those drownings occurred in the East Valley.

However, strong and effective programs continue to make a difference, and one key factor in the formula for success is the support of volunteers. Valley Toyota Dealer's 12th annual Water Safety Day, also presented by SRP Safety Connection, will be on Tuesday, March 29, at Chandler-Gilbert Community College, 2626 E. Pecos Road, Chandler, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. At the event, more than 1,100 first graders will learn drowning prevention lessons.

Water Watchers at Phoenix Children's Hospital coordinates the effort, with hosting departments Chandler and Gilbert Fire lending significant assistance to the effort, and Mesa Community College continuing to provide support. More than one hundred volunteer positions are available. All shifts are available and bilingual Spanish speaking volunteers are needed. For more information, contact Dusty Whitney at 602-546-0268 or visit

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