The Rotary Club of Chilliwack is spreading an important message about water safety, through a children’s story book.
Josh The Baby Otter was written by Blake Collingsworth after his son Joshua drowned in the family’s backyard pool. The Collingsworths had installed a fence, kept the pool covered and installed a security camera. Despite those precautions, Joshua still managed to slip away for a few minutes and drown.
Collingsworth wrote the story of Josh The Baby Otter as a way to educate other families on the importance of water safety. It includes a fun colouring book and quiz, and an audio CD that contains a reading of the book and a sing-along song called Learn to Float.
The story follows the baby otter and his mom as he learns to float, with her help and with the support of his friends. The book is filled with safety advice on what to do, and what not to do, when in or near the water.
And the Rotary Club of Chilliwack has invested $4,000 in the community by purchasing hundreds of copies. They are giving them away, for free, to families with young children. They are available on a first-come, first-served basis, at both the Chilliwack Progress and The Book Man. In keeping with the Rotary’s legacy of supporting education, many copies are also being given to preschools, StrongStart centres, Family Place, Sardis Doorway, and other locations where countless children are bound to enjoy the book and learn to love water safety.
The Rotary Club members will also be out and about this summer at community events, with books on hand to give away. Literacy has long been a passion for club members. Their popular book sale is a massive project undertaken each year, with generous donations of books from the community.
But the sale benefits more than just local readers. Every year, thousands of books are chosen to be sent to another charitable organization in the Philippines, at a cost of about $4,000. This year, the shipment wasn’t possible as the Rotary’s Philippine counterparts were unable to fulfill their end of the agreement. The Rotary Club’s board approved the money be made available to the Rotary Literacy Committee for a worthwhile project.
After the committee explored several options, with the help of other local literary-minded organizations, Josh The Baby Otter was selected.
Over the past month, Rotarians and their partners have been coordinating shipment, and the books are now in Chilliwack ready for young readers.
For your free copy, visit The Book Man or the Chilliwack Progress.