Rotary Club of Englewood presents check to Vineland Elementary School

Rotary Club of Englewood presents check to Vineland Elementary School

The Rotary Club of Englewood rolled out its water safety awareness program called “Josh the Otter at its lunch meeting on Tuesday, November 15.  Club President, Alfred Current, saw the program while attending his President-Elect Training Seminar this past March in Orlando, FL. and felt it was essential to bring the message to Englewood and the surrounding communities.


The awareness project is centered around the “Josh the Baby Otter” book presentation developed by the Joshua Collingsworth Memorial Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) organization.  Parents Blake, a Rotarian ,and his wife Kathy Collingsworth, who live in Nebraska, honor the memory of their two-year-old son Joshua, who died on June 4, 2008 after falling into the family pool three days earlier.  They believed they had every safety precaution in place, but the reality is that a drowning can occur in mere moments.  After losing Joshua, they felt compelled to help reduce the dramatic number of deaths by drowning that occur in our country and around the world.  The Joshua Collingsworth Memorial Foundation was created in July of 2008 to serve as a catalyst to strengthen water safety awareness and create an early childhood

educational program.  Their goal is to empower children to be safe in and around ALL bodies of water to prevent similar tragedies.  The Josh the Otter Water Safety and Awareness Project is dedicated to teaching young children and their caregivers about water safety using Josh the Baby Otter, a book written by Blake, which has been translated into several languages.  The program has been presented in Churches, school classrooms, community centers, zoos, pools, and childcare facilities around the world.  Please view their YouTube video on the homepage of


Helping introduce “Josh the Otter” was Charlotte County resident Paul DeMello, who lost his twin sons, Joshua and Christian DeMello to drowning in January 2010.  Because of that tragic drowning, JACD (Just Against Children Drowning), a non-profit foundation was created to advocate for education and awareness.  There were no dry eyes during this program presentation.  The Rotary Club of Englewood and its Englewood Youth Foundation as joined the local coalition and brings its best efforts to join the education and awareness activities to eliminate or at least reduce the incidence of drowning.


The Rotary Club of Englewood, used a Rotary District Grant and a substantial amount of its own funds, to procure the mascot suit and tools necessary to give a unique presentation and learning experience to the young children and their caregivers.  The “Josh the Otter” mascot grabs attention wherever it goes.  Coupled with story books and coloring books given to the children to take home, presenters use otter puppets and a large pictorial reading book to capture the children’s attention.  A “Josh the Otter” app can be downloaded for free on a smartphone or tablet that has a sing-a-long song and book.  If you want to schedule a visit from “Josh the Otter” please email Alfred Current at with your contact information.

Our vision is the elimination of drowning through water safety education and awareness by fostering a generational change in the way children and adults perceive bodies of water.

The Rotary Club of Englewood …… doing good in our community ……… Rotary serving humanity!