Monday, June 19, 2017

He did it! I'm overwhelmed with pride.

I’m so excited, you guys. Jake finished his ISR swim lessons on Friday and he passed all of his skills!

I don’t expect many people to know a lot about these classes, so let me tell you about them. We would go to lessons for five days a week. Each lesson was a maximum of ten minutes. Why? Because these babies work really hard and that’s all they have the attention span and energy for.

The drive to his lesson took about 45 minutes each day…all for ten minutes with his instructor in the water. I never minded the time, though, because it will save his life if he ever falls into a pool.

I cannot explain to you the pride and overwhelming sense of joy I felt when I saw Jake doing his tests last week. This kid can now float and keep his head above water no matter what he’s wearing. 

Whether it’s a swim diaper and trunks, trunks and shoes, a full summer clothes outfit, or a full winter clothing outfit, he can stay safe. How insanely cool is that?

I got to get in the water with him on Friday to learn the proper way to reinforce what he’s learned and it was great. He was happy and smiling and excited to be in the water. I got to see and experience his confidence for the first time and it was crazy great. So worthwhile.

I’ve been telling you guys that I want to become an ISR instructor for about a month now. I’m doing it! I have interviewed, gotten my background check done, filled out a contract, signed all the papers they need me to sign, and now I just wait for a trainer to become available. This is my dream come true.

There’s been the GoFundMe page set up and people have been helping to cover the cost of the training. I am SO grateful to everyone who has helped. Thank you! I’m still far from my goal, though, so please…if you can donate, please do. And please share this link.

I have talked about losing my nephew, Ethan, a lot in the past. I don’t need to tell you how much that loss has impacted me. I probably wouldn’t be as passionate about doing these lessons if it weren’t for him.

I do have something to share with you that I’ve never shared before. I’ve not shared it because I didn’t think of it this way. Sara gave me a card last week that talked about a whole new perspective on things and it’s worth sharing.

You have to wonder about the reasons why things happen the way that they do and, a lot of times, there’s no logical answer to those questions. That’s been the case with the accident that took the lives of Ethan and his grandpa, Rolando. Why would something so horrific happen to my family? My sister and her husband don’t deserve that kind of grief. The Pacheco’s didn’t deserve to lose their husband, father, grandpa, etc. when Mr. Pacheco passed away.

Here’s what Sara said to me that really hit home. Maybe Ethan’s life was meant to be largely defined by his death. That kid touched more lives and made more of an impact in his 2.5 years than a lot of people do in 75 or 100 years. He taught us love, patience, kindness, the true meaning of innocence, and so many other valuable lessons.

However, since his passing, I truly think that he has saved lives. With the story of his death, he encouraged parents who had been putting off swim lessons for their kids to finally bite the bullet and enroll them. He taught families that accidents happen even when a child is with an adult, so we should do whatever we can to keep our kids safe. He inspired me to want to help kids learn to save themselves in water. Ethan wasn’t born into just any family…he was born into mine.

Here’s why that matters. Not very many people have the platform or reach that I do from working on this show. I shared my story. Kidd and the crew talked about what happened. We grieved together and, with that, people learned about the importance of water safety. We can continue that with me teaching these lessons.

I don’t know what happened that night that led to Ethan and Rolando both losing their lives. I’ve been to a psychic to see if I could get an answer, but I didn’t. Here’s my belief. Whatever happened that night had a purpose and that was to save lives. Ethan has saved many lives through his passing. I know that he was on this earth for the reasons that every baby is born, but his purpose was a greater one. His legacy lives on and continues to save lives. I hope he’s up in Heaven smiling down on every parent who has used my family’s story to enroll their kids in ISR or other swim lessons.

I know that a lot of you are sick of hearing me beg for help to do this ISR training class. To all of you, I’m sorry. This is so important to me that I’m OK with putting myself out there, probably sounding pathetic at times, asking for your help and support. I need to do this to help my own heart heal. I need to help other families keep their babies safe. This is such a big deal to me.

I know that there are so many worthy causes out there. I read about them every day. I understand if you would rather put your money towards something you’re equally as passionate about. If you can and are willing to help pay the cost of my ISR tuition, though, here’s what I can promise you.

I promise to help as many low income kids as possible once my training is complete. I promise to use my platform to continue to encourage water safety with kids until people stop listening. I promise to make Ethan proud and to show that our loss is helping prevent the loss of other babies. He deserves to know that he made a huge impact on lives in his short life.

I’m going to quit this begging session now. I truly hope that you will help and share my page. I start training in August…I need to reach my goal!

Monday, June 5, 2017

I Have a Dream

Dear Kiddnation-

I really suck at asking people to help me. I’m pretty great at getting help for anyone else who needs it, but this asking for me is hard. But I need to do it to reach my goal. So here goes nothing.

Many of you have been in my life since I was 17-years old. I’ve been with this show for half of my life now. In that time we’ve been through so much together. So many highs and, unfortunately, so many lows. Through it all, though, we’ve found a way to unite and come out on the other side

There’s been one big issue in my life that I’ve yet to come out on the other side of. I’m still working through it, but time doesn’t ease this pain. I won’t get into all of it again because I can’t properly explain my feelings without getting upset. Like guttural crying upset. In a nutshell, I’m still not over losing my nephew, Ethan, in a drowning accident in 2011.

I’ve said for several years now that I want to somehow make sure that other people never know the pain of losing a child in a drowning accident. I’ve had no real plan of action, though. That has changed dramatically over the past week.

I did a Q & A call with the Infant Swimming Resource expansion people on Thursday. That call turned into an unplanned interview and I guess I nailed it. On Friday they called and told me that the team loved me and was excited to invite me aboard. They sent me the contracts I needed to sign and, as of yesterday, I have committed in writing to becoming an ISR instructor.

Most of you probably don’t know what ISR training is. It’s basically training kids who are 6 months old to 6 years old how to survive if they fall into water. I take my nephew, Jake, to these lessons five days a week and the change I’ve witnessed in him is remarkable. It’s so remarkable that I want to help others witness that same change in their kids.

I am ecstatic about this opportunity. It’s my dream come true. It allows me to directly help kids survive a water accident.

If everything works out I will start training in August. It’s a 6-8 week course…done 1 on 1 with a master trainer.

Once I finish my training and pass my certification test I will be free to offer these lessons…both free on scholarship and with tuition. I am really excited about the ISR organization because they encourage their trainers to pay it forward by offering classes to kids from families who cannot pay for them. They have even offered me the Pay It Forward scholarship! That means that I am legally obligated to give lessons to 10 kids who could not pay for them during the first two years of my certification. How awesome is that?

Here’s the thing, though. I need help with this. This training isn’t free. Like I said in the Stuff With Shanon podcast, I will be trained one on one with a master instructor. Training me will be this person’s job from the minute I start classes until the minute I get my certification. Believe me when I say that not many people have the skills required to teach me what I need to know to become an ISR instructor, so the one person in my area that can teach me deserves to get paid for it.

 I hope that I make you guys proud in doing this. I promise not to beat you over the head with water safety tips and stuff like that. I will continue to talk and post about random Psycho Shanon nonsense and I’ll occasionally throw in some updates on this journey.

As it is right now all I need to do is pay my tuition and I’ll be ready to start my training as soon as possible.

So, if you’re able to help contribute to my journey, I seriously appreciate you. If you can’t do that, maybe you could consider sharing the link so that other people will. I’m truly grateful for anything you choose to do in helping this dream become a reality for me.

Here's the link.

Thanks so much everyone.