Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix

Water safety camp teaching 120 Phoenix children how to swim

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July 17, 2018

Media Relations Contacts:

The ZAC Foundation – Joe Hunter, (435) 901-2254 

Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix – Cassidy Campana, (602) 770-6014,

The ZAC Foundation Brings Water Safety Camp to Phoenix

National Water Safety Advocates Partner with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix and the Valley of the Sun YMCA to Host ZAC Camp for Parents and Kids

July 17, 2018, Phoenix, AZ — The ZAC Foundation will join with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix to host a four-day water safety camp July 23-26 for Phoenix area children and families.

Founded in 2008 by Karen and Brian Cohn, the ZAC Foundation joins with local organizations each year to sponsor ZAC Camps in cities all across the nation.

The award-winning ZAC Camp brings life-saving water safety skills to local five to nine-year-olds. Nearly 15,000 kids all across the country have participated in the camps in recent years. Combining ‘classroom’ instruction with swimming lessons and opportunities to learn important skills from First Responders, the camp provides children and parents with tools to enjoy the water safely while understanding avoidable risks.

Sponsored in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix and the Valley of the Sun YMCA, the ZAC Camp will take place July 23-26 at the Legacy Foundation Chris-Town YMCA, 5517 N. 17 Ave., Phoenix, AZ.

Community leaders, along with representatives from local police and fire departments, will participate alongside professional water safety instructors.

The Camp will kick off at 1 p.m. Monday, July 23, with an opening ceremony featuring local officials, as well as representatives of the Boys & Girls Clubs and the YMCA. It will continue through Thursday, July 26, with sessions each day from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

The ZAC Foundation was established by Karen and Brian Cohn after the loss of their six-year-old son, Zachary Archer Cohn, who became trapped in a drain in their backyard swimming pool. The Foundation’s advocacy and education efforts have reached thousands of children and their families directly, with millions more reached through social media and news outlets.

In addition to in-pool lessons and safety classes with First Responders, campers will learn the fundamental tenets of water safety from a classroom curriculum based on The Polar Bear Who Couldn’t, Wouldn’t Swim, a children’s book co-authored by Zachary’s parents.

Announcing the Phoenix camp, ZAC Foundation co-founder Karen Cohn said, “Each year, it is tremendously gratifying to see our son Zachary’s legacy live on in the faces and laughter of kids across the country who participate in ZAC Camps.  We couldn’t offer this life-saving opportunity without our amazing partners, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix and the YMCA, and we’re excited for what I am confident will be an amazing camp. Nothing is more important than the safety of our kids, and it brings us all great joy to provide kids and their parents with the tools to enjoy the water more safely.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death among children aged 1-4, and the second leading cause among those aged 5-14. Drowning risk is highest in minority populations, with drowning rates nearly three times that of Caucasian children. Many of these tragic deaths are preventable through proper water safety skills and measures.




About The ZAC Foundation
The ZAC Foundation was established in 2008 by Karen and Brian Cohn after the loss of their 6-year-old son Zachary Archer Cohn in a pool drain entrapment in their backyard swimming pool.  Through education and advocacy, the Foundation has educated more than 10,000 children and their families on the importance of water safety and is dedicated to continue preparing more for a lifetime of water safety.  To learn more about The ZAC Foundation, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and


About the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Phoenix

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix offers affordable after-school and summer programs for 27,000+ young people in grades K-12. At 12 clubs in Phoenix and the West Valley, BGCMP provides award-winning programs designed to change the lives of young people in four key areas: Fun With a Purpose, Academic Success, Be Great, Do Good, and Healthy Choices.  The Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix empowers young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible members of the community.




BGC YMCA Swim Class

What a better way to start the week in sunny Phoenix than with a dip in the pool? Or in this case, a splash. Valley of the Sun United Way’s partnership with The Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix has fostered the environment to provide academic success programs for children that keep their minds growing.

Bank of America gives grants to 27 nonprofits serving Arizona children in poverty

Check out this article in the Phoenix Business Journal. Click here.

Bank of America gives grants to 27 nonprofits serving Arizona children in poverty – Phoenix Business Journal 1/2 A representative for Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix and Bank of America are with teens accepting grant awards. (Photo by Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix) From the Phoenix Business Journal:

Bank of America gives grants to 27 nonprofits serving Arizona children in poverty Jun 30, 2018, 12:49pm MST Bank of America again dipped into nonprofit giving this year, offering up $750,000 in grants to 27 local nonprofits, many of which deal with shelter, food and children’s services.

“These grants that we provide are geared toward wrap-around services to help remove these barriers that keep people from achieving economic stability,” said Scott Vanderpool, a local marketing executive for Bank of America.

The announcement of BofA’s nonprofit giving comes the same week the Annie E. Casey Foundation released its 2018 Kids Count report show Arizona ranked 45th in the U.S. when it comes to children’s well-being. The report, which found that 24 percent of the state’s children live in poverty, shows Arizona lacking when it comes to services for children.

That ranking, and similar ones showing Arizona’s education system lacks what is needed for a future workforce, are often drivers for corporate giving.

Vanderpool said the annual BofA grants are part of the bank’s mission to improve financial lives of people living in poverty. This year’s giving was down slightly from last year, when BofA gave $775,000 to 34 local nonprofits.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix was among the organizations that received money. It is expanding its leadership in training program, or LIT, which helps teens land internships. Bank of America is offering 10 financial center internships.

“Thanks to Bank of America’s investment, we are developing the soft skills these teens need to secure and retain jobs outside the club and giving them real life experience to help ensure their success,” said Josh Stine, the group’s director of grants and government relations, via email.

The Kids Count report highlighted that many children have not benefited from the improving economy and a historically low unemployment rate.

Dana Wolfe Naimark, president and CEO of Children’s Action Alliance, an organization that lobbies on policy issues for children’s health, safety and wellbeing, said many families are still recovering from the 2008 financial crisis. She helped gather data for the report.

Vanderpool said Bank of America’s grants are meant to provide tools and skills for families.

“As we continue to look at these nonprofits, our goal is to help those families that have fallen on hard times. It’s really geared as prevention, but also to help people gain life skills that are essential to people.”

~Abdel Jimenez Editorial Intern Phoenix Business Journal


Don Pearson, Wells Fargo’s area President, and his commitment to Boys & Girls Clubs and the local community

Check out this article in the Phoenix Business Journal. Click here.

Executive Inc.: Don Pearson puts banking and volunteering at the top of his list (Video) – Phoenix Business Journal Executive Inc.: Banking and volunteering top Wells Fargo market president’s list(Video)

Coming up on his first anniversary as regional banking president for Wells Fargo’s Desert Mountain Region, Don Pearson said he and his family have settled in rather quickly.

“It feels good,” Pearson said. “It feels like home.”

Pearson said he remembers when he first got the offer from Wells Fargo to move to Arizona. He had three days to think about it. His wife, Beverly, has family in Arizona. She didn’t think twice, and encouraged him to take the job.

He’s been with Wells Fargo for 16 years and has worked all over the country, from San Diego to Iowa.

“When I think back about it, I went from San Diego, which has the best weather in the country to the most rainy state and then I moved to Iowa in January when it was 25 below,” he said. “Then I moved to Arizona in August, when it’s 100-something.”

As he and his family moved to different markets, they always maintained their involvement in the Boys & Girls Club.

His special needs stepdaughter has participated in Boys & Girls Clubs since the family was in California, so whenever they moved to a new city, they would reach out to the nonprofit to see how they could help, averaging 400 volunteer hours a year.

“I haven’t volunteered here as much as I historically have,” he said.

The ability to volunteer with nonprofits is something Pearson said he values about working with Wells Fargo.

“It’s just one of the things about this job that I absolutely love,” he said. “That connection through nonprofits. They are the heroes when you think about the people who dedicate their lives to nonprofits to help others. I’m fortunate to work for a company that has that as a priority, which is to engage the community an be part of it, be visible and help others.”

Every Wells Fargo team member is given 16 hours of vacation time to volunteer for a nonprofit.

Of Wells Fargo’s total $6.9 million investment to Arizona nonprofits during 2017, $3.1 million came from Arizona’s 15,000 employees. They volunteered 113,000 hours in 2017.

“We don’t tell them where to go,” he said. “Go where your passion is.”

Pearson has been in banking since he was 17 years old. He worked part time at a retail store until he had to work Christmas night.

His mom pointed out he might consider working at the local bank, where they have air conditioning and don’t have to work nights or weekends.

“I wasn’t old enough,” he said. “I still remember the manager was so kind. They hired me 90 days before I turned 18. I was in the stock room for 90 days before I became a teller.”

The banker’s hours were fantastic, he said, working from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“I look back and think what did those guy do when you think about those short hours,” he said. “Now I work Saturdays, and it’s not uncommon for me to work nights.”

Over the years, he moved his way up the corporate ladder but still has fond memories for his teller job.

“I loved the interactions with people,” he said. “The fundamentals are exactly the same from Day 1.”

Pearson was moved into this position after a series of scandals that involved Wells Fargo employees opening accounts for customers without their consent and charging inappropriate fees to certain customers.

“We have been very transparent about the changes we’ve made,” Pearson said. “At the end of the day, the job in itself is fairly simple. We focus on our customers. We focus on our team members. Our mission is to help our customers financially succeed and help our community succeed.”

Wells Fargo’s Desert Mountain Region includes the company’s banks in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico. In Arizona, the bank is one of the three largest operating in the state.

Don Pearson

Title: Regional banking president, Desert Mountain Region

Company: Wells Fargo

Family: Wife, Beverly; blended family of five children and two grandchildren

Age: 61

Alarm clock set for: I wake up at 4:30 a.m. and I’m ready to go. I love to work, I love my job and I like coming to work every day.

How you celebrate life: I enjoy every day. I’m not overly serious about anything, and I try to balance it all.

Always in your refrigerator: Water, water and more water. I drink tons of water. And it’s not because I now live in the desert. I’ve always been like that. Oh, and iced tea sometimes.

Best advice received: Don’t take things for granted. You just never know. Assuming is a short cut and sometimes it’s way different than you thought.

~Angela Gonzales Senior Reporter Phoenix Business Journal