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Meet Jessica Box of SoCal Survival Swimming in Riverside

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessica Box.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Becoming a mother is what led to the foundation of SoCal Survival Swimming. When I had my first daughter, Simone, I suddenly realized that I couldn’t be there at every moment watching over her. These days, now that I have three young daughters, that rings even more true.

Both my mom and grandma have pools and I rely on both to help with childcare so it’s imperative that my children know how to swim. I was familiar with survival swim because my aunt is an instructor but, at the time, the closest survival swim instructor was 50 miles away.

Still, we committed to the program when Simone was a baby. Fast forward a couple of months and I had packed up my family and temporarily relocated to Boulder, Colorado — where I began and completed my training at the Infant Aquatics headquarters. After earning my certification, I founded SoCal Survival Swimming with the objective to reduce the number of childhood drownings through swim instruction and education.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
A recent setback we faced was being shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I just couldn’t believe that swim instruction — life-saving lessons to keep children safe and prevent them from drowning — was not considered essential. Well, we changed that narrative.

Once swim lesson businesses were closed, childhood drownings quickly shot up across the nation. Florida saw one of the largest spikes with a 70% increase compared to last year. I knew we needed to get back into the water, so our foundation wrote letters to health officials and legislators asking for their support. We then forwarded the letters to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Thankfully, we were declared essential — actually the first swim program in the United States to receive the “essential business” stamp of approval. This victory just shows how crucial we really are and that we need to bend the ear of legislators to make this ring loud.

SoCal Survival Swimming – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I offer two different programs: infant survival float and swim-float-swim for children of walking age and older and group classes.

Babies as young as six months can participate in the survival swim classes which are 10-minutes long, five days a week for six weeks. At the end of the six weeks, the child must pass the survival swim test which involves jumping into the pool fully clothed.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success is embodied in the mission statement of our nonprofit: to reduce the number of childhood drownings — One Baby at a Time.

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