We had the good fortune of connecting with Madison Marchegiano and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Madison, we’d love to hear more about your end-goal, professionally.
I have dedicated my life to raising awareness for Drowning Prevention. My goal is to put an end to childhood drownings. Each year thousands of children drown and it is so preventable. I want parents to start taking it seriously by using simple layers of protection like supervision, pool fences, pool alarms, window/door alarms, and CPR. Most importantly, I urge parents everywhere to enroll their child(ren) in survival swim lessons with the hope they can avoid becoming yet another sobering statistic. I don’t want to see another family go through the unimaginable pain Colt’s family has endured. After I graduate college, I plan on training to become an Infant Aquatic® Survival Specialist. I want to teach life-saving self-rescue swimming survival skills. I plan to open my own survival swim school here in Austin, TX, and Los Angeles, CA. I can’t think of a more rewarding career than teaching children how to save themselves in the water. If I can save just one child’s life, then I would have succeeded in my goal.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
In 2015, five years after Colt passed away, I asked his parents if I could start a nonprofit in his honor. I took on this role as I knew it would be too hard for his family. Upon approval, I determined my mission was to raise awareness for Drowning Prevention & Child Safety. I began by creating a website, which required lots of patience and trial and error. In order for me to be able to give out scholarships, I needed my foundation to become a 501(c)(3). I had to find a lawyer to help make this happen. Once I officially became a 501(c)(3), I could start fundraising, giving out scholarships, etc. Over the years, I have raised thousands of dollars for the Colt Catalina Foundation. Without the community help, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Anyone interested in creating their own nonprofit needs to have drive and be dedicated in order to make a nonprofit successful. The biggest step of all is putting yourself out there and making connections. This is how you build your organization and inspire people to donate. It’s not been an easy road, but it’s definitely worth it.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Austin, TX definitely has its own unique vibe, which goes along with its motto, Keep Austin Weird,” A few of my personal favorite places to eat are Pluckers Wing Bar, Maudie’s Tex Mex, and Gourdoughs Donuts food trailer. If you’ve never visited Be sure to check out the Domain for some shopping, take a stroll around Town Lake at Zilker Park, then grab a homemade cream soda and some nostalgic candy at the Big Top Candy Shop. In my opinion, Last, but certainly not least, Austin is known as The Live Music Capital of the World. Austin should be on everyones bucket list. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many amazing people and organizations that have made a huge impact in my life. The first person I want to have recognized is Judy Heumann (the founder of Infant Aquatics®️). She has been one of my biggest supporters over the years and I admire everything she does to save children’s lives from something so preventable. She is truly amazing at what she does. Amber Smith, is another wonderful lady I admire. She lost her son River in a tragic drowning accident and has since founded The River Kelly Fund in his honor. This organization has donated thousands of dollars to the Colt Catalina Foundation to help us give out more survival swim lesson scholarships and provide toys to children at Dell Children’s Hospital. My family and friends have been there for me since the beginning. Without them, wouldn’t be where I am today.

Website: https://cwcfoundation.wixsite.com/coltcatalina

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/coltcatalinafoundation/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NotOneMoreChildDrowns/

Youtube: https://youtube.com/channel/UCJkDSlqj4R_26BO1hFDB1ig

Other: https://infantaquatics.com/

Image Credits
Infant Aquatics®️ and Ready, Set, Float!

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