Drayson Center aquatics staff train new assistant lifeguard and pool assistant
Jared Wareham, assistant lifeguard-in-training, tries out one of the lifeguard chairs at LLU Drayson Center. He will be assisting the lifeguards in watching the swimmers, as well as keeping the pool deck clean and organized.
Jared Wareham is training to become an assistant lifeguard and pool assistant at Loma Linda University Drayson Center.
He is completing his junior lifeguard swim class and shadowing other lifeguards to “learn the ropes.”
Born with Down syndrome, Mr. Wareham has overcome numerous odds to achieve many accomplishments, thanks to the support and encouragement of his family—and particularly his mother, Dorothy Wareham.
Not only is he an excellent swimmer, but he is also a world-class archer. He attended Redlands Junior Academy for part of grade school and all of high school, receiving his certificate of completion. He reads and writes, and he types with accuracy on a computer.
In his new role as assistant lifeguard, Mr. Wareham will perform the duties shared by all lifeguards—keeping a watchful eye on all of the swimmers using the lap and leisure pools, as well as keeping the aquatics area clean and orderly.
“Jared is very conscientious,” says Jenny Bell, aquatics manager for Drayson Center. “When I ask him to do something, I know that he will complete it.”
She has even taken Jared with her to help market the aquatics program around the Inland Empire area.
Head lifeguard Bill Sabin teaches the swim class Mr. Wareham is taking to prepare for his new role.
“Jared does a great job with water rescues,” he points out. “He is able to handle larger individuals with no problem.”
Individuals with Down syndrome often suffer from poor muscle tone and respiratory problems. Mr. Wareham has no problem in either area, and regularly works out both aerobically and with weights. He also bikes and runs. His training has paid off.
Mr. Wareham knows well the information required for the junior lifeguard course. “Jared only missed a few questions on the exam,” Mr. Sabin continues. “He did better than some of my other students—he takes it very seriously.”
At the end of each session, Mr. Sabin gives a pop quiz to the class. If none of the class members know the answer, the result could be a few more laps or some other consequence.
“On more than one occasion, Jared has known the answers to my quizzes,” Mr. Sabin relates. “The other students are always thankful when Jared saves them from extra laps.”
Mr. Wareham is a member of Loma Linda University Medical Center–East Campus Hospital’s program for the physically challenged, known as PossAbilities. As a member, he takes part in the regular sports activities such as water and snow skiing, as well as triathlon events.
Those members who use the aquatics facilities at Drayson Center can rest assured that another “set of eyes” will be helping them to stay safe as they enjoy the water, as well as a clean and orderly pool deck.
By Larry Kidder, ma