My name is Daria Maya. When I was nine years old a child almost drowned at my birthday party in our backyard pool. The incident happened in a flash. A parent arrived with a younger sibling and began a conversation with another parent. The younger sibling was left unsupervised, and no adults were watching. The child jumped into the deep end of the pool. Fortunately, my parents hired a lifeguard to watch over the pool party. The lifeguard dove into the deep end and pulled the coughing child out to safety. Events such as this happen every day around the world. Many of them end in tragedy however, drownings are preventable.
During my sophomore year in high school I participated in a water safety and lifeguarding class. As I was learning lifeguarding skills, I always thought about my ninth birthday party and what could have been. I decided to create WeLifeguard.com to prevent drownings. WeLifeguard.com is a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit. I don’t make any money running the site. The lifeguards don’t pay to be listed on the site. The pool party hosts don’t pay to use the site. The service is entirely free. However, if I personally guard a party, I do get paid.
Many businesses and individuals have offered to advertise on the site. And, many people have given me ideas as to how to monetize the site. I am not interested. I run the site as a community service, not a business.
Recently, many people contacted WeLIfeguard after learning about a few local almost drownings. Here is how the website works: a party host submits a request to WeLifeguard.com. I then send a text message to the lifeguard network. Once there is a match, I connect the lifeguards with the pool party host.
This week I provided a water safety and drowning prevention presentation via Zoom to Norwalk based Star Inc.s’ incredible students with disabilities. This experience was among the highlights of my mission to spread water safety awareness. Perhaps we can all work together as a community to share our ideas and knowledge regarding water safety and drowning prevention with everyone.
If you are an adult, and want to learn to swim, don’t be shy; email me. If you want your child to learn to swim, email me and I will connect you with a swim instructor or lifeguard. If you are hosting a pool party contact WeLifeguard.com, and I will try to connect you with a lifeguard.
If you are a certified lifeguard and want to join the site, please contact me at WeLifeguard@gmail.com.
I can imagine a world without drownings, I hope you can too.