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Sebastopol Rotary Seeks Volunteers to Teach Children How to Swim


Sebastopol Rotary Seeks Volunteers to Teach Children How to Swim

When Greg Jacobs worked in the Sonoma County District Attorney's office, he was on a committee that reviewed all child deaths in the county every month. There were too many drownings in bathtubs, swimming pools, Lake Sonoma and the Russian River. All were preventable.  Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death for kids 14 and under, nationally and worldwide. And now pediatricians are recommending swim lessons for one-year-olds.

Joining the Sebastopol Rotary Club gave Greg the opportunity to become involved in program that provides FREE swim lessons to Sebastopol area second graders. The Rotary Learn to Swim program began in 1984, and this year will see the 10,000th child participate. Child water safety researchers say that for every 100 swim lessons taught, 100 lives are saved, so we know how important the program has been to the community. This year, 375 kids from area schools will head to Ives Pool, downtown Sebastopol, beginning April 18, for their lessons. 

A former Red Cross swim instructor at Ives, Greg is seeking volunteers who are willing to help Rotary with this mission that saves lives. It takes a lot of people to teach 375 kids swim lessons! The program runs from April 18 to May 12, Monday through Thursday, with each school receiving a half hour lesson twice a week. The lessons are taught in half hour slots between 12 and 1:30. Volunteers can teach as little as a half hour lesson twice a week, and they do not need experience teaching swim lessons. Greg says, "We will teach you how to teach these basic swim lessons. You just need to enjoy working with kids, and want to help them be safe around water. You will not only be helping kids stay safe, but it is a lot of fun as well." Greg can be reached at 823-7341 or