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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

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Give a ‘Gift for Life’ and help a child learn to swim

Give a ‘Gift for Life’ and help a child learn to swim

The non-profit organization Les Reflection Du Bayou (LRDB), was born in 1986 when a group of women stirred up quite a bit of attention as they began to clean and beautify a neglected bridge along their Bayou Lafourche community. Later they convinced the judges, sheriff and district attorney, to send community service workers.

Since then, the organization has been instrumental in numerous endeavors such as the continuous beautification and cleaning of Bayou Lafourche and involving our youth and adults by getting them positively involved in the community.

But LRDB organizers felt the urgent need to bring into action a plan to save lives by developing a charitable program called “Gift For Life”. It provides water survival and boating safety along with environmental education.

LRDB, now in its 33rd year, feels that anyone who does not know how to swim is almost unheard of if you live in this area of beaches, lakes, bayous and swimming pools. But many people don’t.

Our area is in a delicate situation, surrounded by levees that are pressured by water. Our lifeblood has long being tied to water through the fishing and petroleum industries. Our citizens and youth pass along and over the bayou daily. They fish, swim, boat, and hunt in and around the water.

Statistics from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that 10 people drown each day. Children ages 1 to 4, have the largest accidental deaths due to drowning. Second to those deaths are 5 to 15. LRDB feels every child deserves this “Gift For Life.”

The inspiration for this program was LRDB founder and director Peggy Bagala’s great-grandchild Braxton, a 15-year old whose life was tragically cut short. He was a gifted athlete who soared in swimming and whose full potential had not yet been realized.

It brought awareness that too many kids in our area do not have the opportunity that Braxton had to learn water survival, and some even go into their adult life without this ability. In our diverse area of water, levees, and hurricanes, Braxton had the gift to survive these situations. LRDB wants to give all the children in this area “Braxton’s Gift For Life”.

“Our goal is to teach you to be unafraid of the water, to be able to swim,” said Bagala.

The free event, now in its 7th year, will be held next week, July 22 to July 26, at the Cut Off Youth Center.

To become a sponsor, or simply to donate to the LRDB “Gift For Life” program, which doesn’t cost a thing to the participants, call 985-632-6382, or contact for more information.