Teen promotes water safety with new lifeguard service
WESTPORT — With the weather getting warmer and people starting to enjoy time in their pools, one Westport teen has made it her mission to ensure residents have a safe summer.
Daria Maya, a 15-year-old Staples High School student, started WeLifeguard.com, a website that allows parents to hire certified lifeguards for private events.
Maya was inspired by the idea after taking a lifeguard skills class at Staples and learned of a void in Westport.
“Our instructor talked about the lack of lifeguards in our town and how so many people needed them. It inspired me to create this site,” the sophomore said.
As a child, her parents installed a pool into their backyard and would host many parties; her family went above and beyond to make sure attendees were safe, Maya said.
“We always hired a lifeguard to ensure it was safe,” she said, adding sometimes they would have difficulties finding a lifeguard.
Since taking the class and becoming an American Red Cross Certified Lifeguard, Maya has already put her skills to the test.
“I actually think it’s a really good idea for other people to take it,” she said, adding she has been on lifeguard duty for several parties so far. “I think it’s a good experience. You watch over people and ensure everything goes smoothly.”
In comparison to her classroom environment, Maya said she always has to be prepared for the unexpected while on duty.
“In my class you’re with other kids you know. Whereas when you’re lifeguarding for other people, you don’t know the kids and how they’re going to act,” Maya said. “I’ve definitely learned a lot.”
Maya started putting her website together in January, with the site formally launching in April. In the short time it’s been up, she has already received a warm reception from the community.
“A lot of people have been reaching out and asking for lifeguards,” Maya said, adding rates are individually set between the host and a lifeguard.
“We can lifeguard private personal pool parties, events and more,” she said.
To aid in her water safety, effort Maya is joined by teammates from her water polo team as well as other friends and peers with lifeguard training.
“We’re already booked for a lot of days during the summer,” she said.
To gain attention for her new site she has passed around flyers and also reached out to local Facebook groups. How far can her new team travel?
When asked how far her new team can travel for events, Maya joked, “As far as our parents can drive. But we’re looking to expand later on.”
With early success, Maya hopes to continue WeLifeguard for at least the remainder of her high school years.
“It’s exciting to be able to connect with my community and get involved,” Maya said. “I also think water safety is important for everyone. So this is a way to promote that.”