Shawn Serigny knows how to swim and takes a dive recently at the Golden Meadow pool. But not all boys and girls Shawn’s age are that lucky. The Gift for Life program teaches young people how to swim and will be taking applications for non-swimmers for the week-long program that begins July 28 at the Cut Off Youth Center.
Les Reflection Du Bayou (LRDB), a non-profit 501-C-3 organization, 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.
Collaboration between all made Les Reflection Du Bayou the leader in beautification and cleaning litter from Lafourche Parish. LRDB passion helped to curtail drug plus alcohol use in youth and activities by making them positively involved in the community.
LRDB was the inspiration where the community service workers would be sent on a bus throughout the parish every weekend to pick up litter. This community service bus continues to be used today to keep road sides clean of litter.
In 1999, LRDB was awarded a two-year grant for “AmeriCorps on the Bayou” as a joint project between the Corporation for National Service, Louisiana Lieutenant Governor, and Louisiana Service Commission. This grant gave 11 young members the opportunity to serve by assisting LRDB community volunteers in accomplishing even more than in previous years.
Les Reflection has received many awards and grants since their humble beginning, but one of the most prestigious was presented personally by President George W. Bush, the Presidents Community Volunteer Award, co-sponsored by the Points of Light Foundation. This highest honor was one of twenty given that year, worldwide.
The mission statement of LRDB to protect clean and beautify the communities along Bayou Lafourche and to build community pride through volunteerism, education and collaboration has been taken to the highest degree of importance. Over 400 talks have been presented to youth and citizens on being good stewards to the environment and assisting in wetland protection.
This 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.
Stirred by the problems from past hurricanes Juan, Katrina and Issac, LRDB feels the urgent need to bring into action a plan to save lives. LRDB’s goal is to reach all of Lafourche Parish by bringing an awareness of the dangers of the region in which we live.
Les Reflection Du Bayou has developed a charitable program called “Gift For Life”. It provides water survival and boating safety along with environmental education. LRDB will be teaming with other state, federal, and local organizations that will stress subjects such as vanishing wetlands, levee systems, rip-tide survival, oceanic biology submerged auto survival and hurricane preparation and planning.
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 LRDB “Gift For Life” program will cost $5,000 to teach 30 to 40 non-swimmers, ages 7 to 17, for 5 days. Les Reflections Du Bayou would ask you to consider helping give children the “gift” and become a sponsor.
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 recently. 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 graduate without this ability. In our diverse area of water, levees, and hurricanes such as Katrina, Braxton had the gift to survive these situations. LRDB wants to give all the children in this area “Braxton’s Gift For Life”.
The event will be held from July 28 to August 1 at the Cut Off Youth Center from 9 a.m. to noon. A lunch will be provided. The program is free to non-swimmers ages 7-17. Adult class time is 4:30 to 6 p.m.
Donations should be made to Les Reflections Du Bayou, P.O. Box 993, Cut Off, LA 70345, or call 985-632-6382 or 985-414-9710, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Posted on Fri, July 18, 2014
by Marc Kimball, Contributing Writer