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Water safety top of mind for Jacksonville mom who lost son to accidental drowning

Through her non-profit 'Colby's Swimming Angels,' Tosha Roberts hoping to have her own recreational center and to offer swim lessons.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Water safety is top of mind for mother Tosha Roberts after the accidental drowning of her son Colby.

"My mission at that point was to make it very important, to spread the importance of accidental drownings," Roberts told First Coast News.

Even though it's been 18 years since she lost her son, with each new drowning comes a responsibility, she says, to educate parents - not only about CPR, but locking doors and windows and keeping an eye on children at all times.

Credit: Courtesy: Tosha Roberts
Tosha Roberts lost her son Colby, 2, to an accidental drowning in 2004.

"Of the grief and the loss I was obtaining, kind of made it hard for me to speak about it, but now that's it's been years later, I don't mind. I love being an advocate to tell people how my best practices were to get me through where I was," she explained. 

Through her nonprofit 'Colby's Swimming Angels' she's hoping to have her own recreational center and to offer swim lessons.

Jacksonville Councilwoman Ju'Coby Pittman is pushing for $300,000 in the city's budget to continue advertising billboards, which began in 2021 after the drownings of several autistic children.

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Credit: WTLV
Jacksonville councilmember Ju'Coby Pittman is asking for $300,000 in next year's budget to continue funding billboards advertising retention pond safety.

Pittman says the city is also working with developers to notify families of ponds in newer neighborhoods.

Roberts supports those efforts to make sure children are aware of the potential dangers that come with being around water. 

"It is something no parent would ever want to go through, and I would never want to see another parent go through what I went through," Roberts said. 

If you would like to help Roberts' in her mission to build a recreation center, you can email her at tosh1284@outlook.com.

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