For many, Friday, Jan. 1, represented a long-overdue turn of the page from a year that lived up to no one’s expectations. From the beginning of 2020, news trickled into American airwaves and newsprint that a mysterious virus had secretly wreaked havoc throughout much of China and had begun spreading at uncontrolled levels through South Korea, Iran, Italy and Spain. Reports of overwhelmed hospitals, mass graves and widespread lockdowns also spread. And then the accounts started coming out of New York City. And Seattle. And a well-known pork processing plant in South Dakota. By March 11, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 was declared to be a global pandemic. Locally, by March 13 — auspicious, indeed, as a Friday the 13th — school districts were closing, cities were declaring states of emergency and officials were openly discussing what would become the Safer at Home orders. Restaurants were limited to takeout or delivery. Personal care services, entertainment venues and bars closed. Nonessential retailers had to close. The NBA suspended its season.
A Glendale family spearheaded a protest outside the offices of the YMCA of the Foothills this week to demand information about their son’s drowning death at the organization’s La Crescenta facility. Colin Jacobs, a 19-year-old USC student, died on July 1 while on duty as a summer camp counselor at the YMCA branch in La Crescenta. A longtime volunteer for the organization, he was less than two weeks away from his 20th birthday. Now, two months later, his family and friends say the YMCA of the Foothills has yet to explain the circumstances surrounding Jacobs’ drowning, or provide any promise to change its policies, saying that better practices might have avoided the tragedy. On Monday, about 50 people gathered with signs in front of the organization’s La Cañada Flintridge location, which was chosen because it hosts the YCMA’s administrative offices, though it is not the site where Jacobs drowned. “It could have very easily been prevented,” Phil Jacobs said of the death of his son, adding that Colin Jacobs could have suffered a seizure in the pool. “It was a very, very senseless death to somebody who was so focused on what he wanted to do and helping others. … He was an all-around great kid. He didn’t deserve this fate.” The tragedy was referenced in a newsletter from YMCA of the Foothills CEO Vince Iuculano that was posted on the organization’s website on July 6. The statement included few details, saying that “out of respect for the family and the ongoing investigative process with the authorities, we can only share a limited update.” But the Glendale family, which includes Colin’s mother, Mairena, and sister, Amber, said that it did not request that the YMCA withhold information — and that in fact family members have sought more details. Phil Jacobs explained that the family contracted an attorney to speak with the YCMA’s attorney, hoping to arrange a meeting between the family and the nonprofit organization. But then, he said, the YMCA’s representative stopped responding to emails.
A family held a protest outside the La Cañada Flintridge branch of the YMCA of the Foothills on Tuesday to demand information about their son’s drowning at a nearby YMCA facility.
Colin Jacobs, a St. Francis High School alumnus and USC student, died on July 1; he had been working as a summer camp counselor at the YMCA branch in La Crescenta. A longtime volunteer for the organization, he was less than two weeks away from his 20th birthday.
Two months later, his family and friends say the YMCA of the Foothills has yet to explain what happened or promise any changes to its policies. About 50 people gathered with signs in front of the organization’s LCF location, which was chosen because it hosts the YCMA’s administrative offices, though it is not the site where Jacobs drowned. Continue reading “Family Seeks Answers From YMCA After Teen’s Drowning”