California Aquatic Therapy and Wellness Center, Pools of Hope, is a non-profit organization located in Long Beach alongside Compton, that not only is changing lives within its doors, but also within the surrounding community. Pools of Hope offers affordable access to two beautiful large indoor heated swimming pools for low income or under-insured families to learn to swim and water safety from professional tutors and swim instructors. The location is open year round. More importantly the pools are equipped for and used for therapeutic activities for those who may be physically challenged, recovering from an injury or just trying to get healthy, slimmed down and limber. Everyone from young children to the elderly can find a program at Pools of Hope to benefit from.
While operating off donations and volunteers itself, Pools of Hope also does a lot for the neighborhood, such as having an annual toy drive for the local children. Each year they make about 500 kids holidays much more special! They also have drives such as an annual casino night with wine tasting which benefits the elderly in the community. There are special programs for Veterans, a lunch program and training for those who are interested in getting certified as a lifeguard. It cost money to get certified, so once again they offer discounts and scholarships for those who need it. They are in the habit of doing whatever they can to make each individual’s goals attainable!
The center is also available for rental for private parties and events!
I spoke briefly with Patricia Dixon, Executive Director of California Aquatic Therapy and Wellness Center, Pools of Hope to find out a little more about what they do and how they operate.
Q. I read warm water is easier to learn to swim in—is there any truth behind that and if so how does that work?
A. Warm water can be relaxing and the person may feel more open to the swim lesson experience.
Q. What are the therapeutic benefits of warm water therapy for handicapped, disabled, seniors and those with healing from injuries?
A. At the Pools of Hope we are blessed to see people lives change from exercising in a warm water environment. Exercising in a warm water environment has been proven to increase balance and mobility, strengthen muscles, joint flexibility, increase range of motion, sooth muscles and decrease pain.For many people with challenging health conditions like arthritis, orthopedic and neurological conditions, exercising on land may not be possible. However, due the buoyancy of the water, movement becomes a possible. At the Pools of Hope, we provide freedom…the freedom to move without pain and discomfort.
Q. You guys offer a multitude of programs from veterans to healthy women to weight loss to art for health to senior services to lunches, yet you don’t have a lot of staff–do you guys take volunteers and if so what are the requirements?
A. As a nonprofit organization, volunteers are crucial to our operations. We welcome volunteers in the areas of fundraising, aquatic therapy, aquatic department, administration, and more.All that’s required is an interest to help us serve the community and to contact us.
Q. When I visited during class time and for your awards ceremony I noticed that the staff is not only small but diverse in race and age, yet it has the feel of one big family, everyone on staff seems pretty close—as an overseer of the establishment what would you say set the foundation for all to work so well together as one?
A. Dedication and passion are the two words I would use to describe the staff at the Pools of Hope.The people who are working at the Pools of Hope are there because they care about the others. We see the difference our warm water therapeutic program is having on the lives of others.
Q. Being a Director that works on site of a non- profit organization must be really fulfilling, while most of your job is business, you also get to see the people you help face to face on a daily basis—what does that feel like, to see the joy in the children’s faces from your efforts?
A. It is very rewarding to see the smiles of children when they get in the pool for therapy. It makes my day and reminds me of how important our program is to the community. To see a child with cerebral palsy or a senior who suffered a stroke take their first step in our warm waters of hope is very inspiring.
Q. While being set up to receive donations to keep Pools of Hope operating, you also collect toys and give out food and do things for the community as well! What pushes you guys to go that extra step to help the children and families in the neighborhood as well?
A. As a non-profit organization, we appreciate the support of the community. So, programs like our Annual Holiday Toy Drive and Swim & Achieve Educational Tutorial Program, are programs designed to give back to the community that supports us. We believe that it is an honor for us to serve others and we are only as strong as the community we serve.
Q. I know you guys rely on donations to keep going, how u do you guys keep that up? Do have any yearly events or drives to encourage donations or involvement?
A. As a non-profit organization, we seek donations from foundation, corporations, and individuals to sustain our program. Each year, we have an Annual Awards Fundraiser Event to help raise funds for the organization. The event will be held in June 2016. All donations are welcome and appreciated to support our efforts in providing our warm waters of hope program to improve the health of low-income seniors and children with special needs. People throughout Los Angles and Orange Counties look to the Pools of Hope for their aquatic therapy & exercise needs and we are grateful to have the support of others in making it happen.
Pools of Help is located at 6801 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90805
Phone: (310) 537-2224,Fax: 310-537-2255
Photos found on www.caaquatictherapy.com / Pools of Hope Website