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PPCD Members: Florida

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I wear many hats. I am a mom, a wife, and a Navy veteran. I am also an ISR Master Instructor, prior life-guard, and co-founder of Swim Safe Forever. I am passionate about drowning prevention because drowning is preventable. And I know that together we can save lives!


Stacy resides in North Palm Beach with her husband and three children.  After having her first child, she decided to enroll her in ISR Self-Rescue swim lessons.  She immediately witnessed the value of this program and became an instructor in 2008.  Prior to teaching the ISR swim lessons, she earned an A.S. degree in veterinary technology as well as a B.S. degree in interior design.  She also has an OUPV captain’s license.  She joined forces with the Live Like Jake Foundation in order to further her mission of preventing childhood drownings.

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I am a wife and mother of 2 graduates of the ISR program.  I found out about ISR when my son was 1.  My husband and I debated doing the lessons for about 6 months.  I knew drowning was the leading cause of death in children and my husband was adamant about not having pool. Once we started the lessons I knew we had made the right choice and I found my passion.  I was fascinated by the method and level of safety and training that ISR lessons provided.  


I became an instructor in 2007 and have been excited to teach everyday!  After becoming an instructor I also became passionate about educating the community about the layers of protection.  Swim lessons are only a part of the layers of protection and I enjoy being part of the Drowning Prevention Community.  By joining PPCD my voice has joined with many others and we are stronger than ever before.


David lives and works in a small beach town with his lovely wife and three beautiful children. He is the owner and founder of Donate Smarter. Before starting Donate Smarter, he worked in residential permitting, construction and finance, and coached youth football, soccer and rowing at the high school and college levels.  If he's not working with charities you'll usually find him playing with his kids, most likely in or near the ocean.

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Keri Morrison is a mother of 3, and when she is not working for the Live Like Jake Foundation she is enjoying every minute she can with her family doing all the fun things Florida has to offer. Keri’s children especially love to swim so they spend a lot of time in the water.

On November 30, 2013 Keri’s son Jake drowned in the Intracoastal waterway while visiting family for the Thanksgiving holiday. She has since made it her life’s mission to educate families about water safety and the importance of survival swim lessons.


My son Kareem Angel Green lost his life on June 16, 2006 at the precious age of five. Kareem was experiencing his first water related field trip but, due to a lack of supervision and no life guard on duty, my son lost his life to drowning. To keep his memory alive and prevent water- related accidents, I started a non profit foundation to educate children and adults on the importance of being safe around water. Through education and sponsor provided swimming lessons, water related accidents and drownings can be prevented. My hope is educate all so no one has to experience this life changing tragedy. My mission is to educate all.  Visit my website here.


Heather Spurlock from Jacksonville, FL. Mother of 3, Steven II, London, and Jeremiah. I’m a Medicare Appeals analyst and an ISR instructor. My goal is to be full time ISR next year.

In May 2013, our son Steven II drowned at daycare.  He was 2 1/2 years old.  We believed that the mommy and me lessons and his puddle jumper meant he was safe. We had no idea that neither would protect him. After a few years of grieving and asking what we were supposed to do with losing Steven, it was laid on my heart to be an ISR instructor. My background is in early childhood education and what better way to apply it than with children and in the water teaching survival swim?


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Kari Bahour: Member PPCD

I'm the founder of a nonprofit called Water Smart Tots, Inc.  Founded in 2014, Water Smart Tots, Inc. is a 501(C)3 nonprofit corporation dedicated to eliminating pediatric drowning in the Greater Tampa Bay Area by promoting awareness through water safety education and by providing scholarships for survival swimming lessons to children ages 12 months to 6 years who are financially underprivileged, or who have special needs.


We currently have 16 instructors throughout the Tampa Bay area that have partnered with WST to accepts scholarship recipients and get reimbursed by Water Smart Tots.  These instructors are both ISR instructors and some formerly ISR instructors.  A list of participating instructors can be found here:


Christina Canavan

On November 26th, 2015 our identical twin boys, Jaxon and Leyton got out of their crib for the first time and made their way to the pool. I slept 5 feet from the crib they got out of. Leyton lived for 12 hours after the accident until his heart failed. Jaxon survived but with profound brain damage. My mission is to raise awareness and keep my boys memory alive. 


Lou Mertz

My name is Lou Mertz. I lost my son, Colynn, to drowning 13 Dec 17. He was only 2 and a half years old. It's been the worst experience of my life and I served on 3 combat tours. Two to Iraq and one to Afghanistan. Since my son's death, I've found many amazing, extremely helpful people who have been where I am for much longer than I have. I helped support and setup one event where I met a handful of these people. I'm so grateful for the opportunity I had to speak with all of them and I thoroughly look forward to more events with them and hopefully starting up my own foundation to help the cause and to get my story out there. All I want to do every waking minute is learn all I can and spread the word of this silent, child killing epidemic that everyone surely takes for granted and do better than my best to turn these stats upside down. 

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Within two weeks of putting my children through ISR lessons, I knew I wanted to become part of the survival swim movement. In 2001, I trained to become a certified ISR instructor and have, since then, taught well over 1,000 students. After realizing ISR was my passion, I went on to become a Master Instructor in 2003 and was provided the opportunity to train over 40 new instructors across the country. 

Bringing ISR to new communities and sharing information with parents about the importance of drowning prevention is one of my greatest passions in life, and I feel extremely blessed to be part of ISR’s mission of Not One More Child Drowns. For 17 years, I have strived to teach survival swim techniques to as many children as possible who are between the ages of 6 months and 6 years. I look forward to meeting you, learning about your family and helping your child grow. 

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Sophia Brizeus

My name is Sophia Brizeus and I'm from Boynton Beach, FL. I am a Patient Experience Liaison. I always thought "I knew how" to keep my daughter safe from a pool accident. July 22nd, 2018 changed everything "I thought" I knew. I want to be able to educate and teach awareness for drowning prevention and child safety. I am working on starting a foundation in honor of my daughter, Soraya, to provide survival swimming lessons for those in financial need. Money shouldn't be the reason for a family to go through the unimaginable gut wrenching pain my family is suffering. My mission and hope is that everyone hears and reads this message of PPCD because there is a lack of knowledge about children ages 1-4 drownings. Being educated and taking precautions will save lives and tears. I want to join many before me to help stop our children from not being with us. Live Like Jake has been instrumental with helping me through the lost of my daughter. She was one week shy of starting her 1st swimming survival lessons because of them. 


As a drowning survivor, I am honored to teach little ones how to be safe and confident in the water! I became an ISR instructor in 2007 after my sons completed the program. I was so incredible grateful for the skills my sons learned and their ability to save themselves in the water. My mission is to reach as many families as possible through awareness, connection and education. I believe we can end childhood drownings by banding together in our efforts and passion. That's why I'm happy to be a part of the PPCD.

Natalie assists each Sunday by sharing Survival Stories!

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I am a Wife, a Mom of 4 handsome young men and an ISR Master Instructor. I am the founder of Ocala’s first and only indoor swim school, Marion County ISR, llc where we are privileged to teach children from six months to six years. We work with children from varying economic and medical backgrounds, including those with special needs. I have also partnered with Marion County Fire Rescue, teaching their children, to give back to the men and women that work hard for our community keeping us safe. 


Since 1999, I have worked to educate my community in drowning prevention, first as a YMCA swim instructor and then joining the ISR team in 2008. As an ISR Master Instructor, I have been able to train ISR Instructors in Washington, Texas, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Portugal. I work hard everyday to decrease the number of drownings in my community, to save as many children as I can reach each day. 


Guided by over 20 years of experience, Tammy Van Embden’s passion for swimming developed on the shores of her South African homeland.  Since 2000, Tammy has extended her extensive knowledge to students throughout the South Florida community. Between 2003-2008, she owned and coached a swim team of over 200 students for the Aventura Aquatic Club Swim School, stationed at FIU north’s campus pool.  And her list of accolades doesn’t end there. Tammy is a 16-year + USA level swim coach and ASCA member as well as Red Cross CPR certified instructor. Her devotion to the sport and unparalleled talents as a teacher have enabled her to gift the love of swimming to those seeking her guidance.

Find Tammy's swim school here:

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