Feb 1, 2019
When Greg Jacobs worked in the Sonoma County District Attorney’s office, he was on a committee that reviewed all deaths in the county every month. There were too many drowning in bathtubs, swimming pools, the Russian River, The Coast, and Lake Sonoma.
All these deaths were preventable, and the committee took steps to publicize these local hazards; for example, signs were posted in English and Spanish to warn of dangerous conditions in the Russian River.
34 Years ago, the Sebastopol Rotary Club took its own action to reduce drowning deaths by offering FREE swim lessons to all area second graders. Over 10,000 children have participated. This program is unique in the U.S., and over the years has involved hundreds of community volunteers who help teach the kids basic swim and water safety lessons.
Child water safety researchers say that for every 100 swim lessons taught, a life is saved---you do the math.
This year over 400 kids from ten schools will head to Ives Pool, downtown Sebastopol, for their lessons beginning the week of April 22. A former Red Cross swim instructor at Ives, Greg is looking for volunteers.
The program runs between April 22 and May 16, Monday through Thursday, with each child receiving a half hour lesson twice a week. The lessons are taught in half hour slots between 12 and 1:30. Half the schools come on Mondays and Wednesdays, and the others on Tuesday and Thursday. Many volunteers teach as little as a half hour lesson twice a week, but many teach more. And you don’t need experience teaching swim lessons.
“We will teach you how to teach these basic swim lessons. You just need to enjoy working with kids, and want them to be safe around the water. You will not only be helping kids stay safe, but it is a lot of fun as well.”
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