MISSISSIPPI, USA — It has less been than two weeks since Tavya Hall received horrifying news on Wednesday, May 18 that her 20-year-old son drowned in Mississippi Lake, and now she is pleading with parents to put their children in swim lessons this summer and turning her grief into a message for others.
Hall's son Roderick Morton Jr. was considered a good, self-taught swimmer.
Although he was in the army and very athletic, Hall said Roderick got tired while trying to swim a dock. She believes her son would still be alive today if she had put him in swim lessons growing up.
"I just want them to learn from my pain now," Hall said. "Water is fun but it's also dangerous. "
Hall said she lost two family members to drowning just weeks apart. Hall's nephew, 15-year-old Kenneth Evans, drowned on April 27. Evans never had swimming lessons either.
"I just want (parents) to learn from my pain now," Hall said. "No other parent should have to bury a child. It's best to have fundamentals in swimming so they'll know the proper techniques in an incident like this."
Hall is the sister of Ricky Floyd, who is the pastor of Frayser Community Church. They are working together to create a swim safety event to help parents get children signed up for swim lessons.
More information on the event will be available at a later date.
For now, here is a list of swim programs in Shelby County.
- Ms. Donna has over 33 years of swim experience. She offers swim lessons for children and adults.
- Swimming lessons for children start as early as 18 months, and she also offers lessons for special needs students.
- Ms. Donna's offers year-round services, ad she trains in heated and covered pools during the winter season.
- To sign up, call 901-753-6762
- At Kroc Memphis, children 6 months to 6 years of age can sign up for swim classes that teach them confidence and aquatic safety skills.
- Click here to learn more about their program.
- The Kroc Center has swim lessons for every stage of your child’s swimming experience, offering classes beginners to experienced lake-goers. Swimmers move through five different levels as their skills progress.
- Instructors Jessie and Michelle have more than 20 years of experience. They offer 5 classes.
- To see which program is best for you, click here.
- U of M swim classes offer a supportive, nurturing, and safe environment in which participants ages 6 months to adult can learn to swim or improve their existing skills.
- Group swim lessons are based on availability. Click here to learn more.