A Community Rallies With Love for Young Girl Who Drowned at Local Summer Camp

Published : Sunday, October 13, 2019 | 5:24 AM

Saturday, Pasadena parents Doug Forbes and Elena Matyas brought together the people and places that played key roles in their daughter Roxie’s short life, to collectively say “goodbye.”

But the day also publicly welcomed the birth of a new foundation honoring Roxie’s memory, a foundation which will work to protect all young Californians who attend summer camps from the kind of tragedy which took Roxie’s life.

Roxie drowned June 28 in the swimming pool at Summerkids Camp in Altadena.

The new foundation, called the Meow Meow Foundation after Roxie’s beloved Scrappy Cat doll, aims to educate every California family on the dangers of unregulated swimming pools at summer camps and to eliminate preventable drownings.

In California, day camps are not under any obligation to report to a governing body, according to Forbes.

“It’s unconscionable that daycare facilities have to report, but summer camps do not,” he said.

Forbes and Matyas are working with State Senator Anthony Portantino on a bill that would address this gap in current legal regulations.

The Rally for Roxie started with a “soulful, sing-along walk” from Pasadena’s San Rafael Elementary School to nearby San Rafael Park, led by Roxie’s former music teacher from Pacific Oaks Children’s School.

At the Park, there was an art project for children and dancers from The Academy of Polynesian Arts performed. Dinosaur Farm, Rose Bowl Aquatics, and The Kitchen for Exploring Foods also contributed to the event. A DJ from Los Angeles-based nonprofit radio station Dublab provided music.

Mayor Terry Tornek and Assemblymember Chris Holden spoke, as did Forbes and Matyas and her teachers.

The Saturday event was the “culmination of everything,” Forbes said. “It’s to celebrate our daughter’s life of six and a half years. We had no services, so this is a way to have a remembrance and help other people, and thank the community.”

Visit meowmeowfoundation.org for more information.