In 2014, Keri Morrison started the Live Like Jake Foundation to honor her son, Jake, after he passed away in a drowning accident. At first, Morrison’s mission was to help people live life positively no matter what circumstances come their way. But when she began taking her daughter to self-rescue swim classes for infants and young children, her mission evolved. “Once we enrolled Julia in lessons and saw how they could have saved Jake’s life, we decided to become a nonprofit to raise awareness about childhood drowning prevention,” shares Morrison, who left her corporate job to focus on the cause full-time. Aside from promoting awareness, Live Like Jake also raises funds to secure scholarships for self-rescue swim lessons for families who have financial difficulties and offers emotional and financial support to those who have experienced a drowning tragedy. To date, Live Like Jake has provided more than 2,600 scholarships in 38 states.
This spring, the organization took things one step further by unveiling a new indoor swimming facility in Palm Beach Gardens. “Jake passed on November 30, which is an off-season time,” says Morrison. “So to me, it was important that the lessons could continue all year as well as into the evening hours.” Lessons are taught by ISR (infant self-rescue) instructors and are usually five days a week for about six weeks, depending on the child’s skill level. “These lessons are the last layer of defense for your child,” says Morrison, who cautions that many parents refute the need for lessons because they don’t have a pool or live on the water. “Well, neither did I,” she notes. “If you live in Florida, there is water everywhere.”
While it’s been more than seven years since Jake’s passing, Morrison says days are still painful, but she finds comfort in the fact that his memory lives on. Says Morrison: “All of our scholarship families get pictures of Jake. The swim instructors all wear a rash guard with a picture on it. They’ll send me stories of how the kids will ask, ‘Who’s that?’ It warms my heart that people still talk about him—that he matters.” For more information about enrolling in swim classes, click here.