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California's PTA Convention: What a Difference 4 Years Make!

PTA booth 2011 vs 2014
This May, for the fourth consecutive year, The Via Foundation was fortunate to attend the California PTA's annual convention. As an Allied Agency for the state's PTA, Via is always honored to conduct a Heart Health workshop, teach attendees how easy it is to use an AED, and show people simple CPR skills. 

Here's a snapshot of the past 4 years: 
  • The first year, 2011, we we attended the convention was the same year the AED resolution for schools was being voted on in California. The resolution would make procuring AEDs a suggestion by the PTA for all schools. Parents and teachers passed by our booth, cautiously regarding us and the defibrillators. Those who had heard of an AED were intimidated about getting one for their school. The AED Resolution passed in California, and schools slowly began warming up to the idea of purchasing the devices.
  • Our second year, 2012, showed an increase in awareness about AEDs. We heard a lot of folks say, "I've heard of these," or "We've been considering an AED for our school."
  • The third year, 2013, the tide had changed. People were responsive -- excited even! "We are getting an AED!"
  • This year, we heard more people than ever say, "We've purchased an AED at our school!" Or "Please tell us more information. We want one!"  
With over 5,000 children dying in the U.S. each year from sudden cardiac arrest, this surge of awareness and change of attitude makes us very, very, happy!

Introducing the Newest Member of the Via Team 

Please help us welcome Ellisa!

Ellisa is the newest addition to the Via staff, coming on board to focus on our international AED placements and provide backup customer support. 

Ellisa is originally from Long Beach, California. As a competitive swimmer, lifeguard, and swim instructor for several years, Ellisa knows the importance of CPR skills and AED training.

Ellisa attended UC Santa Cruz and swam competitively for the Banana Slugs. She earned her B.A. in Anthropology with a minor in Education. When not  working at Via, Ellisa is a singer-songwriter and musician, living in the Bay Area.

Some interesting facts about Ellisa:

1. She plays shows live with a full band. Her stage name is "Bonnie Sun!"

2. She speaks fluent Spanish and is learning Mandarin.

3. She loves to surf but is secretly afraid of huge waves.

Hi I'm Bob

Bob's Legal Corner

Dear Bob,
I want to donate an AED to my son’s school, but the principal says that training is too expensive. What type of training is needed and how much does it cost?
-Lisa from Temecula, CA

Dear Lisa,

It’s great that you would like to donate an automated external defibrillator (AED) to your son’s school! The American Heart Association (AHA) estimates that more than 10,000 school-age children die from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) each year. You would be joining thousands of other concerned parents throughout California who have recognized the life-saving benefits of having an AED nearby in the event of SCA and have organized efforts to fund donations of defibrillators to schools.

California’s Good Samaritan Law offers civil liability protection to schools that acquire AEDs through purchase or donation. For their part, the school must maintain the AED and perform a regular visual-readiness check.

There is also a training requirement for schools. For every five AED units acquired, at least one employee must complete a CPR/AED course that complies with AHA or Red Cross requirements. That employee should be able to respond to an emergency and use the AED during normal operating hours. AHA certified courses are offered throughout California and can cost less than $75. That’s a pretty small price to pay for the protection offered by these life-saving devices.

I hope you pursue this generous donation to your son’s school! Twenty states now require CPR/AED training for all students prior to high school graduation. There is strong public support for such a law in California.

At The Via Foundation, we’re here to help and answer any questions that you may have. 

In Health, 


Feel free to  check out our website for more information at www.theviafoundation.org

Did You Know?

1) That one time, at opera camp... If you've ever needed customer support from Via, then you know Kelly, our administrative assistant and AED troubleshooting guru.
You may not know that Kelly is also an opera singer by night. During the month of July, Kelly will be attending the OperaWorks for the Advanced Artist program at CSU Northridge in Southern California. We expect many exhilarating opera camp stories upon her return.
Kelly Sings Opera

 2) "It's so easy, a toddler can do it!"  -- While that may not be 100% accurate, it only takes a few minutes to teach someone how to use an AED. Studies have shown that untrained 7th graders can figure it out a defibrillator almost as fast as trained EMS personnel. Give Baby Alex a few years and she will be a lifesaver!
Baby uses AED

3) If you see an AED, please send us a photo of you next to the wall cabinet or post a pic to our Facebook page and tag it #AEDandMe. Selfies help save lives!
AED spotted in Casper, Wyoming

4) Via manages AEDs all over the world, not just in the U.S.! We have the most devices in Israel, China, and Ireland. In case you didn't know, the international sign for an AED looks like this:

Intl AED sign
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