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WHAT'S WORKING: Family turns pain into purpose, donating money to fund swim lessons

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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

The Jeff family lost their two boys this summer after they both drowned. Now, they are trying to ensure no one else has to feel their pain.

However, sadly, the Jeff families knows that their loss is not an isolated incident.

"My boys were truly amazing kids," said Carlos Jeff, the children's father. "They were full of life. It's amazing. Even in death, they're still affecting lives."

On Tuesday, the family hoped to prevent another child from accidentally drowning.

Bryce Jeff, 8, and Cameron Jeff, 10, drowned June 7 in a neighbor's pool.  The boys were found at the bottom of a pool on Cheyenne Drive, and taken to Children's Hospital. The boys didn't know how to swim, and neither did the adults who were watching them at the time.

Their parents are now fighting in their memory. On Tuesday, they donated $3,324 to the Cincinnati Recreation Foundation.

Their goal was simple.

"Knowing that we are able to help other children and other families not experience the pain that we have gone through," said Barbara Jeff, the children's mother.

The money will help fund the "I CAN SWIM" program which provides swim lessons to those who can't afford them.

The entire community is behind the effort. For good reason, too. Statistics show nine people drown each day in the U.S., and the number nearly doubles in communities of color.

"{Cameron and Bryce} will continue to make a difference for many years to come," said Jincey Yemaya, Cincinnati Recreation Foundation. "As hundreds and thousands of young people in Cincinnati learn how to swim."

The boys' sacrifice extends past the neighborhood pools, as well. They donated their heart, liver, kidneys, tissue, and tendons to save three children as well as an adult.

"When you have such a tragedy that happens in your life, all you can do is try to move on and do something bigger," said Carlos Jeff. "Through our walk in faith, we felt it was something important to do."

The Jeffs are working to make sure this donation is not a one time deal. The family is working to create a foundation in the boys' names, and even hope to donate to swim programs nationwide.

The I CAN SWIM program takes place Tuesday and Thursdays through Dec. 15 at the Mt. Auburn indoor pool on Southern Avenue. For more information, call 513-357-POOL.

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