Jessica Box: Motivated by a Heartfelt Mission to Save Lives

The 10 Most Futuristic Business Leaders Pioneering Innovation, 2020

Swimming is an excellent outdoor sport that helps in releasing stress, building muscle strength, and keeping the heart rate up. Especially for children, swimming boosts concentration, coordination, balance and posture, a few factors that are very essential in the physical and mental development of kids. While swimming is a delightful experience, as children love to dive into the backyard pool after a hot and tiring day at school, it can be life threatening too, if they are left unsupervised. Hence, training the child with the right swimming techniques helps in making this activity an enjoyable one.

With a view to ensure that no more children drown while swimming, SoCal Survival Swimming was started by Jessica Box. First a business professional, then a doting mother and now a successful businesswoman, Jessica has ventured out into an unconventional entrepreneurial journey to ensure that children are well-equipped to survive any fatal incident in the water. SoCal Survival Swimming is an Elite Swim Program for kids that teaches swimming and survival floating, empowering children with the skills needed to safely enjoy the water, in a matter of weeks. CIO Views captures the incredible journey of Jessica, who was inspired by her three wonderful daughters to become an Infant Aquatics Instructor with a heartfelt mission to save lives.

The Inception of a Wonderful Journey

Motherhood is a glorious feeling that brings out the best in you, not only as a mother but as a woman. Jessica experienced an amazing transformation after she became a mother, that laid the foundation of SoCal Survival Swimming.

When Jessica had her first daughter, Simone, she suddenly realized that she could not be there at every moment watching over her, which rings even more true today, when she has three lovely daughters. Whenever her daughter would visit her parent’s home that had large pools, Jessica would rely on her mother and grandmother to help with childcare. Hence, she thought it was imperative that her daughters knew how to swim and are safe in the water.

Jessica was familiar with this program because her aunt is an instructor, but at the time, the closest survival swim instructor was 50 miles away. A perpetual fear of water risks for children urged her venture out into this field and Jessica committed to the swim training program when Simone was still a baby. She also temporarily relocated to Boulder, Colorado — where she began and completed her training at the Infant Aquatics headquarters. Jessica then went on to found SoCal Survival Swimming with the objective to reduce the number of childhood drownings through swim instruction and education.

The Scope and Importance of Aquatic Training

In the current pandemic situation, many businesses have experienced an unprecedented shutting down to avoid the spread. SoCal too, had to face the noise, as swim training did not fall under essential business. “I just couldn’t believe that swim instruction — life-saving lessons to keep children safe and prevent them from drowning — were not considered essential. Well, we changed that narrative.”, Jessica says.

Once swim lesson businesses were closed, childhood drownings quickly shot up across the nation. Florida saw one of the largest spikes with a 70% increase compared to last year. Jessica knew that they needed to get back into the water, so their foundation wrote letters to health officials and legislators asking for their support. They then forwarded the letters to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Her passion for a good cause received a revolutionizing response becoming the first swim program in the United States to receive the “essential business” stamp of approval. “This victory just shows how crucial we really are and that we need to bend the ear of legislators to make this ring loud.”, Jessica adds.

The Life-Saving Services of SoCal Survival Swimming

Preventing childhood drownings by providing survival swim lessons to babies and children and educating the public about water safety is an important mission that SoCal strives to fulfill. Jessica offers two different programs: infant survival float and swim-float-swim for children of walking age and older and group classes. Babies as young as six months can participate in the survival swim classes which are 10-minutes long, five days a week for six weeks. At the end of the six weeks, the child must pass the survival swim test which involves jumping into the pool fully clothed.

When Jessica researched about the scope for infant aquatics, she realized that when a mom and dad are discharged from the hospital with their new baby, they take home documents, detailing all the safety necessities of parenting a young child. However, only one single line is dedicated to water safety, even though drowning is the number one cause of death among children between the ages of 1 to 4, according to the CDC. Subsequently, Jessica’s main motive now is to work on adding drowning prevention to the childhood safety narrative. This includes helping the public understand the value of survival swim — the difference between “quality swim lessons,” and regular swim lessons — and helping to ensure more families have access to this life-saving method.

The Growth and Future of SoCal

To achieve her goals, Jessica realized, she needed to do much more than provide swim lessons. As a result, she founded One Baby at a Time, a non-profit venture. The goal of this nonprofit, is to serve as a drowning prevention educational resource, providing advice to parents and caregivers, access to local instructors, a rating system for instructors and a place for client reviews. The board members of One Baby at a Time include some noteworthy personalities like Dr. Jamie Friedman, Molly Parnell; founder of Golden State Strategy Co. and Kailynn Bowling; founder of Chic Execs.

They recently partnered with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) to pioneer the message that “no child should die from drowning.” This invaluable partnership provides them with direct access, communication, and the support of at least 21,000 firefighters and their families. In addition, to help more parents provide their children with quality swim lessons regardless of their financial situation they now offer a scholarship program. Parents can visit their website and fill out the application for the same.

Jessica’s global goal is to become the so-called “MADD” of drowning prevention. “Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) singlehandedly changed the narrative regarding drinking and driving by turning to legislators to enact strict laws and that’s what I will do with water safety.”, she asserts. One Baby at a Time plans to use similar methods to achieve successes parallel to MADD. By joining forces with organizations such as CAL FIRE and AAP, they will be able to champion their cause at the legislative level and reduce the number of childhood drownings.

Jessica is a passionate, driven, and confident businesswoman who started her journey with a kind motive of saving lives. Even today, her motivation continuous to be the same. “My motivation is knowing that the work I do on a daily basis, whether that’s in the pool teaching children to swim or promoting my foundation — is helping to prevent children from drowning.”, Jessica delightfully shares.