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Vamos a Nadar Reducing Drowning in Local Hispanic Community

Boy and Girl with kickboards
Helping to keep the Spanish-speaking community safer around rivers, lakes and pools.

Vamos a Nadar (Let's Go Swimming) returns for its tenth year with a goal of training more than 300 Hispanic children and their parents in water safety classes. The program that started with only one pool in Santa Rosa has now expanded to seven different pools in six cities. This year, with the support of St. Joseph Health System, the program will take place in Cloverdale, Healdsburg, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol and Windsor. During the past nine years, Vamos a Nadar has reached more than 2000 children and their parents, helping to keep the Spanish-speaking community safer around rivers, lakes and pools.

Vamos a Nadar has taken or will take place on the following days in separate sessions:

  • Sunday, May 5, Finley Aquatic Center, 2060 W. College Ave., Santa Rosa, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 19, Ridgeway Aquatic Center, 455 Ridgeway Avenue, Santa Rosa, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 1, Benicia Pool,7469 Bernice Ave, Rohnert Park, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 8, Healdsburg Swim Center, 360 Monte Vista Ave Healdsburg, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 15, Ives Pool, 7400 Willow St., Sebastopol, 9 a.m. to 12 noon.
  • Sunday, June 23, Windsor Pool, 931 Foxwood Dr., Windsor, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 29, Cloverdale Pool, 205 W. 1st St., Cloverdale, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • The free bilingual program includes swim classes in the pool for children, water safety lectures for parents, and demonstration of lifesaving techniques. Upon completion of the class, children will receive coupons for a two-week course of swim lessons. Each family pays $15 per student for those classes, rather than $40 to $55, which is the price at pools throughout the county. With support from St. Joseph Health System, Red Cross makes up the difference in cost, to ensure that more students are able to afford these swimming classes that save lives. The coupons are accepted at several locations throughout the counties.

    Vamos a Nadar was created and organized in 2004 by the local American Red Cross, working closely with Sonoma County Parks and Recreation, the City of Santa Rosa, and several other groups active in the Water Safety Committee. The planners were responding to numerous drowning and water-related accidents for non-English speaking minorities over the past several years.

    By bringing together water safety professionals, plus members of the Hispanic community, Vamos a Nadar aims to counteract the causes of such tragedies:

  • The cost of pools compared to free lakes and rivers
  • Shortage of bilingual lifeguards
  • More Hispanic residents who live closer to water but haven't learned water safety
  • Prevalence of English-only warning and safety signs at rivers and lakes
  • Swimming is not generally a recreational priority for this community, so few qualify to train as lifeguards.
  • For further information about the program or to register, interested people should contact the American Red Cross, Sonoma, Mendocino & Lake Counties, (707) 577-7624 or www.redcross.org/sonomacounty.