The ISLA team is excited to announce the Semana Santa 2014 Volunteer Lifeguard Projects in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic! 2014 marks the 6th Semana Santa Project in Nicaragua in partnership with the Nicaraguan Red Cross, and the 3rd Semana Santa Project in The Dominican Republic in coordination with the Dominican Civil Defense. We are also happy to announce that both projects are being coordinated in partnership with our friends from Florida based Lifeguards Without Borders!
We are excited to continue our support of both the Nicaraugan Red Cross and Dominican Civil Defense by providing volunteer lifeguards from around the world to share, learn, support, and strengthen lifeguard operations in both countries. This year, we are also actively seeking non-lifeguard medical personnel, research assistants, photographers, and travel writers to serve as support staff for the lifeguard teams! If you have experience in travel writing and photography, you are invited to apply and help us convey the ISLA experience and spread our message of drowning prevention. Paramedics, EMT’s, RN’s, Medical Students, Resident and Attending Physicians are all invited to apply, and help the beach safety operation by staffing a mobile medical tent on the beach. Research assistants will help coordinate investigation on the scope of drowning and lifeguard effectiveness with Dr. Justin Sempsrott. Click “Join our Team” below for more info!
This year, the team traveling to Nicaragua will get the chance to explore the ancient colonial city of Granada, then travel with Red Cross volunteers to the some of the businesses and most dangerous beaches in Central America, working together to keep the public safe. The team will live, train, and guard with the Nica volunteers through the holiday weekend, eating gallo pinto and emptying tubes of sun screen on a daily basis.
While the Nica team is guarding the volcanic black sand beaches in Central America, a simultaneous project in the Dominican Republic (DR) will be well underway as the ISLA team in the DR assists in preparation and execution of the aquatic safety portion of the Civil Defense Semana Santa Operation. The team traveling to the Dominican Republic will have the opportunity to offer water safety workshops and training sessions to a variety of different groups, including hotel employees, local surfers, and Dominican Civil Defense volunteers.
Both projects reflect tremendous progress for the local groups as they take control of lifesaving and water safety efforts in their respective communities.
The Nicaraguan Red Cross has seen a tremendous reduction in drowning events since 2008 when ISLA began working in the country for the intentional training and placement of lifeguards on beaches during this specific holiday weekend. Although there are still many deaths on the Nicaraguan pacific coast during the holiday, ISLA is excited to continue to support the Red Cross in the reduction of those numbers in any way it can.
In the Dominican beach town of Cabarete, the water safety aspect of the Semana Santa operation has had incredible results since its inception in 2011: zero drowning during the holiday weekend in the past two years. (Previous Semana Santa weekends in Cabarete consistently saw between one and five drowning events in the four day holiday.) ISLA is excited to see the Cabarete Community grow the aquatic safety element of the public safety operation as a model for other communities, and will encourage the implementation of similar programs in surrounding towns.
Interested in volunteering with ISLA as a Lifeguard or team member on one of these projects? Join our team!
Can’t join us on a trip, but you want to support the trips?
Both projects involve equipment donations to the respective partners. If you would like support the Semana Santa 2014 projects, please help us purchase a Lifesaving Equipment (buoys, fins, first aid equipment) to donate to the local Guards! Donate (scroll all the way down and click the Donate button on the bottom right) and write in the Notes: Semanta Santa 2014.
This project is being coordinated in partnership with our friends from