Since 2009, the Prevent Drowning Foundation of San Diego has worked to provide swim lessons for children living in underprivileged parts of the city. Now, the president of the organization hopes to make Mission Beach their headquarters so they can continue their mission to teach every child in San Diego how to swim.
According to Buc Buchanan, the foundation (formerly known as the San Diego Junior Lifeguard Foundation) recently started raising money to help build an aquatic safety center that would serve as the Junior Lifeguard Program's headquarters. They are working with the city of San Diego, and while nothing is official, they hope to build the center in Mission Bay because it “provides a lot of options” for children getting comfortable with the water.
“Not everyone can go straight to the ocean with all the currents and stuff,” said Buchanan, a former co-captain of the UC San Diego water polo team and City of San Diego County beach lifeguard. “Mission Bay is nice and flat, and the ocean is just across the street when they’re ready."
Buchanan said the adage of just throwing kids into the water to help them get over their fears is old and outdated.
“It’s a moral obligation to teach your kid how to swim,” he said.
While there are no official plans in the works for the new aquatic center, Buchanan said that the foundation’s primary goal is to fundraise the money and then allow the city to operate the building. The project is in talks, but it needs to be spearheaded by the City.
In the meantime, the Prevent Drowning Foundation will continue to offer free swimming and aquatic safety lessons to underprivileged kids and schools. In partnership with the San Diego County YMCA and the San Diego Unified School District, the foundation aims to give lessons to all third through fifth graders in the district. For more information about its program and services, visit preventdrowningfoundation.org.