$300,000 Gift from Koch Helps YMCA Launch Safety Initiative

$300,000 Gift from Koch Helps YMCA Launch Safety Initiative

May 14, 2013

WICHITA, Kan. (May 14, 2013) — As the school year comes to a close and pools open throughout the community, the Greater Wichita YMCA will launch a new water safety initiative beginning May 15 and made possible by a $300,000 gift from Koch Industries, Inc. Dubbed “Koch Water Wise,” the program is a comprehensive effort to provide hands-on water safety training at the Robert D. Love Downtown YMCA to area families. Koch Water Wise will also promote a series of simple, educational tips to raise public awareness about staying safe around water.

“Koch has helped us launch aquatics programs at the North, South, and now Downtown YMCAs,” noted YMCA Chief Executive Officer Dennis Schoenebeck. “When we started noticing an increase in the number of local drowning deaths a few years ago, we knew who we could count on to help us launch a public campaign for water safety.”

“We’ve been a long-time supporter of the Y’s aquatics programs and we’re pleased to partner with them again on this newest initiative,” said Susan Addington, community relations manager for Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC. “Safety is a vital part of our culture here at Koch, which makes Koch Water Wise a natural fit for us and well-timed as we all begin to enjoy summer activities.“

In only a few seconds, a fun day in the water can turn into a tragedy because that is all the time it takes for an inexperienced or tired swimmer to become submerged. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning remains the second leading cause of accidental death among children under the age of 14. The Consumer Product Safety Commission also reports that, during the first 10 months of 2011, Kansas had reported more child deaths related to pool and spa accidents than 40 other states that same year.

About Koch Water Wise

Public Awareness Campaign, May 15- June 5
May is recognized as National Water Safety Month, and the new Koch Water Wise initiative will launch Wednesday, May 15, with a public awareness campaign asking “Are You Water Wise?” This two-week campaign will coincide with the opening of public and private pools as well as the launch of the annual camping season at area lakes. The campaign will provide tangible safety tips to keep kids and adults safe around the water such as, “Assign an adult water watcher: Drowning is fast and usually silent. Assign an adult who is committed to supervising the pool area. If you must leave the pool area, take the kids with you. Most drowning victims go missing from sight for less than 5 minutes.”

Koch Water Wise Safety Day, May 25, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Before families head to the lake, host a Memorial Day pool party or visit a waterpark, they can kick off the summer with a free Koch Water Wise Safety Day at the Downtown YMCA, located at 402 N. Market. From 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 25, the Y will offer the public free basic water safety instruction. Available to children ages six and older. Contact Mim McKenzie at 316-219-9622 ext. 5558 or mim@ymcawichita.org for details and registration.

Koch Water Wise Safety Classes, June 4 – August 1
Once summer gets underway, kids ages 6-12 can continue to learn about water safety as they enjoy free Koch Water Wise Safety Classes twice a week at the Downtown YMCA. Each Tuesday and Thursday, the Y will open its downtown pool from 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. to provide area youth with free basic water safety instruction. Contact Mim McKenzie at 316- 219-9622 ext. 5558 or mim@ymcawichita.org for details and registration.

For a complete list of water safety tips, contact Shelly Conrady at shelly@ymcawichita.org.

About Koch Industries and Greater Wichita YMCA

Based in Wichita, Kan., Koch Industries, Inc. is one of the largest private companies in America with annual revenues of about $115 billion. It owns a diverse group of companies involved in refining, chemicals and biofuels; forest and consumer products; fertilizers; polymers and fibers; process and pollution control equipment and technologies; commodity trading and services; minerals; ranching; and investments. Since 2003, Koch companies have invested about $50 billion in acquisitions and other capital expenditures. With a presence in nearly 60 countries, Koch companies employ about 60,000 people worldwide. In 2012, Koch companies employed nearly 50,000 people in the United States and paid compensation and benefits totaling more than $4 billion. From January 2009 to present, Koch companies earned more than 570 awards for safety, environmental excellence, community stewardship, innovation, and customer service.

The Greater Wichita YMCA is a non-profit organization that serves more than 270,000 kids and adults through child care, camping, urban outreach programs and healthy lifestyles activities. Nearly two out of three kids in Sedgwick and Butler Counties participate in YMCA activities and more than 70,000 participants receive free and assisted programs. Within the YMCA’s financial capabilities, no person is refused program or membership privileges because of inability to pay.