Miss Tristan Foundation Hires Executive Director

Melissa Woolard Named as Organization's First Executive Director

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 7, 2019

The Board of Directors of the Miss Tristan Foundation, a 501c3 charitable organization since 2017, is pleased to announce the appointment of Melissa Woolard as the organization’s Executive Director. Woolard has previously served as Director of Marketing & Community Development for another local charity, and also served as Public Information Officer for two school districts. For six months, Woolard has worked to create a more accessible online presence for the Miss Tristan Foundation and worked to set up the second year of water safety programming in partnership with Hope for the Future, Colin’s Hope of Austin, and YMCA of Greater San Antonio.

Joe Byrd, Miss Tristan Foundation’s Founder and Board President said, “We are excited to have Melissa come on board to help us create Tristan’s legacy, promote water safety awareness and education, and to prevent other families from experiencing the extreme loss and tragedy of losing a child to accidental drowning.”

On Good Friday in March of 2016, Tristan Byrd drowned in her family’s swimming pool at the age of two. In the wake of this tragedy, Joe Byrd, Tristan’s father, created The Miss Tristan Foundation to inform other families about the dangers of water in relation to children under five years old.

“In 2018, between January and November, 89 children drowned in the state of Texas. Drowning is fast, silent and preventable. Drowning is the number one cause of unintentional injury-related death for children under 5 and a leading cause for children ages 1-14.,” Byrd recently explained to parents at a water safety education orientation.

In 2018, the Miss Tristan Foundation employed the “Water Safety with Colin & Friends” curriculum in ten local Catholic Schools in partnership with the Catholic Arch Diocese. The curriculum was purchased from Colin’s Hope in Austin and has been proven through research, testing and evaluation to effectively educate preschool age children the basics of water safety to include:

  • Wait for a grown up before you go in the water

  • Learn to swim

  • Wear a life jacket

  • Grown ups should watch you while you are in the water

  • Barriers mean stay away

  • Stay away from drains

In addition, last year, Joe Byrd personally financed swim lessons and transportation for over 230 preschool children at area YMCA’s. This remarkable gift marked the beginning of the Miss Tristan Foundation Water Safety Program.

In 2019, Miss Tristan will double their efforts and reach by educating over 1000 preschool age children and providing swim lessons to over 450 Pre-K 4 children across twenty local Catholic Schools.

Melissa Woolard said, “I am honored to be a part of creating Tristan Byrd’s legacy through promoting water safety awareness. Learning the basics of water safety should not be a privilege, it should be a priority. We want to make sure that every parent, educator, pediatrician, and local community and government leader understands that water safety is as important as any other safety measure families are more commonly exposed to.  I am proud to be working with our local partners YMCA, Hope for the Future and Colin’s Hope to save lives in our community”

For more information about the mission and work that the Miss Tristan Foundation is doing visit www.misstristan.com. To make a donation or to volunteer for a committee, please email misstristanfoundation@gmail.com. For media inquiries, please contact Melissa Woolard at 210-392-8269.

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