Making Waves Vancouver is a not-for profit student initiative founded as a registered chapter of Making Waves Canada in 2012. Our mission is to provide affordable and accessible one-on-one swimming instruction to children with special needs.
The need for our volunteer-based service is evident. A 2002 study by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention found that drowning is still the second-leading cause of injury-related death in children, despite a significant increase in general swimming proficiency in North America. Significantly, a separate study found that disabled children are a further ten times likelier to suffer from a submersion injury than the general population (Injury Prevention, 2001).
Making Waves builds on the institutional strengths and successes of existing swimming lesson organizations. We are able to be more effective in injury prevention by providing lessons specifically targeted and adapted to those children at highest risk of drowning in our society. We recruit our volunteers from the abundance of university-aged, qualified swimming instructors and work with our community partners to properly train, educate and prepare them for the rigours of working with special-needs children. We rent out pool space once a week, batch lessons together and assign one instructor to each child. By using innovative techniques to dramatically cut our operating expenses, as well as by actively fundraising, we are able to offer private swimming instruction at a rate affordable even by those living under the poverty line.
Each one-on-one class runs for thirty minutes, on Saturday afternoons from 5-6 PM. The cost per child is approximately $75.00 per season (there are 9 lessons offered per season, but 7 for our pilot session). This charge is used to offset a portion of the pool rental costs and to remunerate the lifeguard on duty (employees of the City of Vancouver). All instructors' time is provided on a voluntary basis.
Two fully certified lifeguards, external to our program and employed by the City of Vancouver, are always on duty during classes.
Making Waves classes are held at Lord Byng Pool, located at 3990 W 14th Ave, near the corner of W 14th and Crown St in Point Grey, Vancouver, BC. We hold two seasons of lessons per year: our fall season of lessons runs from September – December while our winter session runs from January – April. We do not offer lessons during the summer.
You can register here!
For more information about our parent organization, as well as about the history of the Making Waves movement please visit www.makingwavescanada.org.