City of Mississauga

City of Mississauga

September 24, 2007 14:51 ET

Mississauga's Swim to Survive Program Shortlisted for World Leadership Award

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 24, 2007) - The City of Mississauga and Lifesaving Society Ontario have been shortlisted for the 2007 World Leadership Awards for the Swim to Survive® Program. Mississauga is one of three cities competing for the World Leadership Award in the Education and Development of the Young category. The winner will be announced on December 6, 2007 in London, England. Last year, the City won a World Leadership Award in the category of Health for its Healthy City Stewardship Centre initiative.

The awards are sponsored by The World Leadership Forum, a not-for-profit organization which promotes leadership internationally by spotlighting the work of exceptional leaders and achievers in 15 disciplines ranging from architecture and civil engineering, culture and the arts, to health, science and technology.

"The partners who conceived Swim to Survive deserve great credit," said Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion, who gave her support to the pilot program developed and piloted in the City of Mississauga. "We are grateful to the Lifesaving Society, Barb Underhill and the Stephanie Gaetz Foundation who believed strongly in giving our children swimming skills. To date, over 100,000 grade three students in the province have participated in the program. It's incredible really and we're so fortunate to have staff play a key role in developing and launching the program."

According to the World Leadership Forum, the purpose of the World Leadership Awards is to identify exceptional leadership in cities across the world and to use that leadership as an example and inspiration to other cities facing similar problems. Cities will be judged on the following criteria:

- The quality of leadership displayed

- The difficulties or obstacles that the city has overcome

- The degree of inspiration that the city may give to others

Presented annually in London, the World Leadership Awards celebrate the very best in modern city leadership. The City of Mississauga was among 400 cities across the world asked to submit projects in a wide range of activities.

"We're delighted that Mississauga's leadership in the delivery of the Society's Swim to Survive Program is being recognized internationally," said Barbara Byers, the Society Public Education Director. "Mississauga is a terrific partner. This recognition is well deserved."

In its submission, the City showcased how City staff and other community partners identified a need for all children to be comfortable in the water and learn lifesaving skills. With the support of City officials, the Lifesaving Society developed a three-step model to help prevent drowning. With initial financial support from Barb Underhill and the Stephanie Gaetz Keepsafe Foundation, and support from Mayor McCallion and the City's Recreation and Parks division, a pilot program was carried out in Mississauga in 2005. The program has been expanded across the province and into other provinces in Canada.

Mississauga is Canada's sixth largest city with a population of more than 700,000. With well-established infrastructure and state of the art facilities, the City is considered to be an employer of choice, delivering quality municipal programs and services to its citizens. Mississauga is a dynamic, diverse, and progressive municipality, known for its economic strength and for being Canada's safest city.

The Lifesaving Society - Canada's lifeguarding expert - works to prevent drowning and water-related injury through its training programs, Water Smart® public education, safety management services and lifesaving sport. Annually, over half a million Canadians participate in the Society's swimming, lifesaving, lifeguard and leadership training programs. The Lifesaving Society certifies all of Canada's National Lifeguards.

The Stephanie Gaetz KEEPSAFE Foundation was founded by Barbara Underhill and Rick Gaetz in memory of their daughter Stephanie who tragically drowned in 1993. The foundation is dedicated to preventing childhood injuries, with an emphasis on water safety.

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