Olander drowning death on the mind of Josh Project founder - KCTV5 News

Olander drowning death on the mind of Josh Project founder

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TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

The Josh Project is all about teaching kids how to swim.

Now in it's seventh year, 1400 kids have participated in the program.

Every time a child drowns, founder Wanda Butts takes it personally.

"It's very personal. Each time it happens to a family it comes right back to me," said Ms. Butts.

That's because her son Josh drowned at a lake in Michigan.

Last weekend, an 8-year-old boy drowned during a family outing at Olander Park in Sylvania.

Wanda has a powerful message for his family.

"It's not your fault. Not to blame themselves because I was a victim of that and I blamed myself for a long time. But it was an accident. Accidents do happen, but that's why we started this program," said Ms. Butts.

Saturday at St. Francis DeSales High School, swimming and safety classes were taught as part of the Josh Project.

This is an important issue for Toledo City Councilmember Sandy Spang, who is also on the board of the project.

"We have been working with the Youth Commission and they're going to be providing some scholarships for some students to learn to swim this summer," said Councilwoman Spang.

Among other things, the kids learn you should never swim alone and only swim in authorized areas.

It's a valuable lesson for parents like Kamisha Braswell.

"No. He doesn't know how to swim. He thinks he does but I want him to swim," said Kamisha.

To graduate from a session like this, each child must be able to swim fifty yards, float on their back and tread water for one minute.

"He goes to a summer program. They swim a lot and I wanted to make sure he knows how to swim for his safety," said Kamisha.

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