2020 Healthy Kids Coalition Fund
Legal-name: California Aquatic Therapy & Wellness Center
Previous-name: Pools of Hope
Address: 6801 Long Beach Blvd.
City: Long Beach
Officer-title: Executive Director
Mission: The mission of the Pools of Hope is to be a warm-water facility promoting whole life wellness in our community.
Title: Executive Director
Primary-phone: (310) 293-7335
Grantpurpose: Pools of Hope respectfully requests funding for our Youth Wellness Program (YWP) that will serve more than 500 children of varying abilities with an array of health services that support a physical activity, a healthy body weight, good nutrition and wellness education.
What-is-project: Pools of Hope respectfully request support for our Youth Wellness Program to offer a variety of services that address the basic health and wellness needs for low-income children and youth of all abilities, ages 0-18, in Long Beach. Pools of Hope programming fits with the Healthy Kids Coalition Fund to improve health for underserved youth in Long Beach. Our organization delivers inclusive, high quality therapeutic, recreational, and wellness services, including:
1. Warm Water Aquatic Therapy: Pools of Hope’s licensed physical therapist offers one-on-one and group therapeutic activities for a minimum of 50 children with a disability.
2. Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA): A minimum of 20 children with autism spectrum disorder will have access to ABA therapy and a certified swim instructor to provide therapeutic aquatic instruction focused on play-based, functional-movement activities that improve range of motion, facilitate neuro-developmental growth and improve body awareness, while also increasing balance, sensory integration and mobility skills.
3. Therapeutic Swimming Lessons (TSL): A minimum of 100 children with a disability will receive one- on-one swim lessons to help stay active and fit, and to learn important water safety lessons. TSL includes instruction in swimming, floating, kicking and other aquatic skills aimed at improving health, range of motion, strength, flexibility and reducing pain and other symptoms associated with various disabilities.
4. Summer Swim Camp & Recreational Swim: Recognizing the need for safe and affordable wellness activities for children in the summer months, Pools of Hope’s camp offers discounted and/or free swim activities are open to children of all abilities, fostering inclusion while promoting wellness through exercise and education. Children of color at the highest risk for drowning; Pools of Hope teaches vital, life-saving water safety.
5. Wellness and Nutrition Education: Pools of Hope provides age-appropriate wellness and nutrition information to summer camp youth and parents participating in its programs. Children and parents learn proper nutrition and how to make healthy choices, build self-esteem, and participate in regular physical activity.
6. Respiratory Health Improvement Project: Pools of Hope has partnered with the LAC+USC Breathmobile to screen, treat and prevent asthma amongst more than 200 school-aged children in the area, with outreach reaching 5,000 youth.
As the only pool in the North Long Beach community, Pools of Hope’s services are critical for ensuring the well-being of underprivileged children in the area. Thirty-six percent of our clients are socio-economically disadvantaged children and youth ages 0-18, of which 10% have a physical or developmental disability, including but not limited to autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, spina bifida and Down syndrome.
How-will-you-succeed: Pools of Hope’s YWP aims to 1) ensure the youth of Long Beach have access to health services and wellness education; 2) increase physical fitness to reduce obesity rates and support mobility; 3) prevent or reduce secondary conditions (physical, mental and social ailments that result either directly or indirectly from an initial disabling condition, such as pain, sleeplessness, bladder problems, etc.); 4) improve mental health through inclusion, reducing social isolation and providing a network of peer support; 5) provide innovative, therapeutic aquatic programs for children with autism spectrum disorder; and 5) teach children water safety. Physiological benefits include improved coordination, range of motion, perceptual and spatial awareness, muscular and cardiovascular endurance, and relaxation. In terms of psychological health, aquatic activities can reduce anxiety and improve mood, self-esteem, and body image.
Our services aim to address the needs of the whole child, providing inclusive services that encourage understanding between children of all abilities, and improve the physical, mental and social well-being of youth. Pools of Hope determines the success of our Youth Wellness Program through qualitative and quantitative measures. We track the number of participants, the number of sessions provided, and relevant demographic information. Water-safety instructors and lifeguards provide feedback on individual client progress such as comfort in the water, range of motion and increased aquatic skills. Parents and/or the children participating in services provide information on how the aquatic exercise is improving their lives, particularly for preventing or reducing secondary conditions.
Pools of Hope’s long history of serving the Long Beach community is testament to our organization’s sustainability and we work diligently to ensure a diverse funding profile. Pools of Hope is engaging in the following measures to sustain the YWP: 1) Physical therapy reimbursement for services through various insurance programs; 2) Fee-based programming currently makes up 60% of our organization’s revenue; 3) Events attracts corporate funders and individual giving each year; 4) Pools of Hope’s Board of Directors is actively involved in making contact with potential funders, publicizing the pool and its programs through community presentations, assisting in event planning and soliciting donations from individuals; 5) Mail and electronic solicitations kept donors informed of changes and progress—focusing on personal stories of triumph and success, putting a ‘face’ on our organization and highlighting the effect of our programs on children and families; and, 6) Maintaining an active grants program and conducting routine searches into potential and new funders.
Who-are-you: Founded in 1956 and incorporated in 1963, Pools of Hope is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that provides aquatic therapy services for disabled children, injured and disabled adults, and senior citizens. The organization began as a grassroots effort by Evelyn DuPont, a dedicated civic leader and former competitive swimmer who overcame polio through aquatic therapy. Her vision was to make aquatic exercise accessible to all children with a disability as a means of rehabilitation. Operating out of a backyard pool, the organization gained a substantial following and widespread support from the community. A new facility was then purchased in North Long Beach, which enabled the programs to grow and serve a broader cross section of the population including disabled adults and seniors. In 1977, the facility was renovated to be completed enclosed, which allowed for year-round usage. Since then, Pools of Hope has continually increased numbers served and programs offered to address emerging community needs responsively and quickly.
Pools of Hope is a beacon of light in the neighborhood and is a symbol that anyone can achieve a higher well-being at our facility, regardless of their circumstances. Eighty percent of Pools of Hope’s clients are living at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. We offer access to services on a sliding scale basis for those in need, and 85% of patrons qualify for free or reduced-price programs. Our clientele is 40% African American, 30% Hispanic, 20% Caucasian, 5% Asian and 5% Pacific Islander.
North Long Beach is an under-resourced area where families face numerous barriers to achieving good health and well-being. Many are exposed to community violence, homelessness and poverty, lack insurance, are food insecure, and have limited safe places to engage in recreational activities or receive supplemental education. Pools of Hope programming is developed in direct response to community needs. We aim to provide a well-rounded array of services to support health and well-being and partner with organizations such as the Long Beach Unified School District, Paramount Unified School District, Compton Unified School District, Rancho Los Amigos Rehabilitation Center, Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente, St. Mary Medical Center, and College Square Neighborhood Association.
Pools of Hope is the right nonprofit for the Healthy Kids Coalition Fund grant, as our organization’s mission is to be a warm-water facility promoting whole life wellness in our community. We provide access to health and specialty care services five days per week, Tuesday through Saturday; and, we have added online wellness and exercise services, as well as physical therapy telehealth, during the COVID-19 crisis. This allows for our most vulnerable clients to continue health and wellness services while staying safe at home.