Making a Difference: Mother of toddler Katelyn Michaud offers free swimming classes through nonprofit foundation

4:35 PM, May 8, 2012   |    comments
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PASCO COUNTY, Florida -- A local family is turning a tragic loss into a way to help children stay safe in swimming pools this summer.

The Katelyn Foundation was started by Sandra Testo-Michaud after her two-year-old daughter, Katelyn, slipped out the door and accidentally drowned in the swimming pool in 2004.

"When she drowned, I felt compelled that I had to reach out to other families," Sandra says.

On Monday, she began inviting families to her backyard pool to offer free swimming lessons. She and another instructor volunteer their time in hopes of keeping kids out of danger in the water.

But it's a lot of hard work. Last summer, Sandra taught 64 children -- some as young as six months old -- by herself. This year, she hopes to receive enough funding through The Katelyn Foundation to double that number.

"Sometimes, I feel like I want to give up," Sandra says. "But I feel like Katelyn won't let me."

In March, the family also opened a consignment shop called Katelyn's Kloset, located at 2329 Seven Springs Boulevard in New Port Richey. Katelyn's grandparents run the shop on a volunteer basis six days a week, and all the proceeds go to The Katelyn Foundation.

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