Red Cross swimmer now teaches others as volunteer instructor

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 27, 2000

At age 6, Be’Lon Jones learned how to swim with the help of a American Red Cross course.

Now the 17-year-old Natchez resident takes joy in knowing that, as a Red Cross volunteer, she is helping other youngsters learn water skills.

&uot;I teach them to glide first,&uot;&160;Jones said on Tuesday while waiting at Duncan Park’s pool for her young students to arrive for swimming camp. &uot;Then we go on to learn the strokes, blowing bubbles … just the basics.&uot;

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Nearby, Carece Cox filled out the paperwork necessary for great-grandson Caleb Cox, 6, to take the course.

&uot;I&160;almost drowned several times in my life, so I&160;said I&160;would take every grandchild of mine to learn to swim,&uot;&160;Cox said. &uot;So I’m glad something like this (class) is available.&uot;

And Jones, grinning as she interacted with the handful of children who had already arrived for the class, seemed just as pleased to be there.

Except for taking the basic swimming course herself, Jones’ involvement with the Red Cross’ Adams County chapter started when she took the organization’s lifeguard course.

&uot;When I&160;got in there, I&160;saw all the good the organization is doing, from helping in disasters to teaching these (water skills) classes,&uot; Jones said.

&uot;I wanted to be a part of that, and I&160;figured the best way I&160;could help out was through swimming,&uot; added Jones, who has also competed on swimming teams in the past.

Since then, the Red Cross has put Jones to good use as an instructor for courses in swimming, lifeguard training and CPR and first aid. She estimates that since she started volunteering, she has taught about 45 to 50 people.

Jones, who graduated from Natchez High last spring, plans to major in elementary education at the University of Southern Mississippi starting this fall. But she also plans to return in the summers to continue teaching Red Cross classes.

Jones said that for her, the best thing about volunteering, particularly with the lifeguard training courses, has been &uot;knowing that you have helped someone to help someone else.&uot;