By Tana Monteiro, posted on Zócalo Public Square
Swimming Lessons Are Teaching My Community There's Nothing to Fear in Life's Deep End
I work in North Richmond and the Iron Triangle as the Community Wellness Coordinator for YES Nature to Neighborhoods, a nonprofit that strengthens local families by taking them out into nature. These are hard, violent East Bay neighborhoods, full of vacant lots and run-down houses, with Chevron’s refinery always puffing away on the horizon. I work with 20 “Wellness Navigators”–women leaders who are learning to guide their families, neighbors, and themselves toward better health. Our goals are to get 200 minutes of exercise each week, have weekly conversations about diabetes, asthma, and other chronic health issues, and do workshops on nutrition. But creating a healthy community is a complicated process, and I want to tell you what the Navigators and I found when we went to the swimming pool together.