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Kathy Collingsworth

Kathy Collingsworth

Kathy has been co-founder/director of Joshua Collingsworth Memorial Foundation Children’s Charities and its Josh the Otter water safety and awareness project for over 10 years. Kathy and her husband Blake established the foundation in July 2008 after losing their son Joshua in June of that year to a backyard pool drowning. Kathy and her husband have worked extensively on developing a program to keep children safe in and around water with the “Josh the Otter” book and the lifesaving drowning prevention materials and campaigns, not only in Nebraska but around the world.

Since the program's creation in 2008, hundreds of thousands of children have been introduced to Josh the Otter in all 50 United States, Canada, Jamaica, Bahamas, Japan, Brazil, Australia and even Pakistan. Over 350,000 copies of the book have been distributed. There are 66 mascot suits and hundreds of hand puppets of Josh the Otter being utilized.

Kathy is president-elect of the new Lincoln Giving Spirits Evening Rotary Club that she and husband Blake chartered and started in July. She was a previous member of Lincoln Rotary Club 14 downtown and is an honoree member of Rotary clubs in Florida. She serves on the Nebraska Children’s Home Society board emeritus and continues to volunteer actively in her community. Kathy retired after over 30 years of working as a nail technician and interior decorator to dedicate her life to her passion of water safety, and raise her wonderful son Connor with her husband Blake.

Here are Kathy's responses to our questions:

Who has inspired you?

The people who have inspired me the most ask for nothing but are willing to give, not only for what they believe in but for what and how they can make a difference in their community, family, and the lives and well-being of all.

Whom do you hope to inspire?

I pray that through the tragedy we we went through when losing a child, that I can bring a ray of hope to people who are going through similar situations, that the door that closed can open, and to let them understand that they are not alone.

What does leadership mean to you?

I can only lead by example if I treat others with respect.

What is your favorite quote or motto?

I’ve always loved and lived by “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

How would you describe a great day at work?

I believe that together we make a difference every day by being kind to one another.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

You will never know when you’ll need a hand, and to give one is always more important than to receive one.

What’s the highlight of your career (so far)?

Through the work we do, I have met so many wonderful people around the world with Rotary, and I am truly inspired by the fact that when we all help a little, we can impact a lot of lives.

How have you changed over the course of your career?

Every day we are encouraged by the emails, letters and support of the work we do with our foundation. I love the smiles and joy that our book “Josh The Otter” brings to children. If we can save one life, it will be worth it. I know it would have been for me.

Q&As with other inspiring Lincoln women

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L Magazine editor

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