In today’s episode of Child Safety Source, we’re speaking with Darlene Haskins!

Our longtime fans know that, during every episode, we sit down with water safety experts that have dedicated their professional lives to helping to keep children safe. Darlene Haskins fits that model like a glove!

As you’ll learn in this video, Haskins is a woman of many talents. In addition to being a Life Saver Pool Fence dealer, she is also a teacher and an ISR swimming instructor.

Here’s her entire interview with Life Saver Pool Fence’s own Eric Lupton:

Learning More About Darlene Haskins

In her own words, Darlene Haskins has a deep passion for water safety:

“This passion really began when I first started working as a lifeguard and swim instructor in high school. I went on to obtain my Early Childhood Education certificate, operated a large in-home preschool, and taught in a variety of facilities, including my favorite, a Montessori school. During this time, I continued to lifeguard and teach swimming at the YMCA. I was asked by several families if there were any ISR instructors in the area – it became apparent that there was a desire for something more than the Mommy and Me classes available. After researching ISR, I applied to become an instructor, was accepted in 2013, and trained in 2014.”

Through ISR, Darlene soon recognized the importance of teaching drowning prevention to as many people as possible. This drove her to obtain her American Red Cross Instructor Certification for Water Safety/Swim and CPR/First Aid/AED Adult and Pediatric. What’s more, she also launched the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Hand in Hand Water Safety Awareness Foundation, with the mission to equip all people with survival swimming skills, and best practices for water safety, to prevent drowning-related accidents.

Looking for More Child Safety Source Interviews?

If you enjoyed our interview with Darlene Haskins, please follow Life Saver Pool Fence on our official Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. Additionally, please take a moment to check out our official YouTube channel. There, you’ll find the entire collection of Child Safety Source video interviews and more.

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Below is a direct transcript of the Child Safety Source interview with Darlene Haskins from October 2nd, 2018:

Episode 48 – Darlene Haskins

Eric Lupton: And like that, like magic, we are live on the Internet. How’s it going?

Darlene Haskins: Am good. How are you?

Eric Lupton: I am fantastic. So I don’t know– so you said you’re not a Raiders fan, but are the Raiders winning? I don’t know anything about football.

Darlene Haskins: I don’t think they are.

Eric Lupton: You don’t know? Is that normal?

Darlene Haskins: Yeah.

Eric Lupton: Okay. Yeah.

Darlene Haskins: Yeah. I don’t think they are.

Eric Lupton: Like the Dolphins, I…

Darlene Haskins: They didn’t [inaudible 00:31] pretty bad.

Eric Lupton: Gotcha. I don’t follow any sports except for MMA which I don’t even consider a sport, but I do know that the Dolphins are always terrible that’s the one– not even following football. I’m just confident all the time that the Dolphins suck so, you know are sad sad football team down here. So how’s it going up in North Carolina, did you guys survive the storm all right?

Darlene Haskins: Yeah. We had some flooding a little bit

Eric Lupton: Yeah.

Darlene Haskins: Because I wasn’t really expecting that, but we’re so far in, so I didn’t think we were going to get anything. But one room flooded about four inches.

Eric Lupton: Wow.

Darlene Haskins: So that was not fun because we just replaced the carpet about a month ago.

Eric Lupton: Oh Jesus.

Darlene Haskins: So yeah. I figured we were far enough in that we weren’t going to get any.

Eric Lupton: Right, because you’re pretty far west, right?

Darlene Haskins: Yeah. It’s like a 4 hours from the ocean.

Eric Lupton: Well okay.

Darlene Haskins: And we still got plenty, but we got a lot of rain.

Eric Lupton: Yeah I bet.

Darlene Haskins: And there were some– there were some roads that kind of not collapsed, but it started to come apart.

Eric Lupton: So did it land like directly east of where you were?

Darlene Haskins: It kind of like– well it somewhat bypassed us, it just got us with rain.

Eric Lupton: Okay.

Darlene Haskins: The big part they were like the cities next to us got some pretty good wind, but we didn’t, kind of bypass us on the wind part, but we got the rain.

Eric Lupton: Gotcha. And even that was enough to make you flood.

Darlene Haskins: Yep. Yep.  And we have an older house too so it’s kind of sunk in the ground, so it doesn’t help the foundation and all that.

Eric Lupton: No that usually…

Darlene Haskins: It filled our pool up real nice.

Eric Lupton: Yeah.

Darlene Haskins: We had– we had to actually dump the pool a little bit, so that we could take the rain in.

Eric Lupton: Wow. Do you guys have any like rivers or canals or anything nearby that contribute to that, or it was just all rain?

Darlene Haskins: Nope just rain.

Eric Lupton: Wow, that’s impressive. Yeah. I live a few minutes away from the ocean so whenever there’s a hurricane, it’s you know, which is probably 2,3 times a year for me, that in Florida, you know we’re right here in hurricane alley. It’s always a concern that there’s going to be flooding and lose a roof again. I lost a roof in hurricane Francis, maybe I forget which one it was, Ivan whatever.  One of them took my roof off and I’ve had anyone ever since but it’s all right. Yeah, hurricanes man they’re– you know I will take hurricanes over what you did in California though. I’ll take a, you know once a year hurricane over earthquakes and fires and you know all the stuff that you…

Darlene Haskins: California is always on fire, always on fire. She’s is so hot, it’s dry heat.

Eric Lupton: Right.

Darlene Haskins: Everything’s dead. I was surprised when we moved here, we didn’t need a sprinkler in our yard. Okay…

Eric Lupton: You don’t need a sprinkler?

Darlene Haskins: In California– in California it’s all dry and you have to have sprinklers, and yeah and here look and it was like it– here you just it’s moisture and stuff, so the grass is always green. You don’t need a sprinkler.

Eric Lupton: Wow.

Darlene Haskins: In California it looked like, hey, if you didn’t have the sprinkler…

Eric Lupton: Yes. I mean I mean I’m in Florida it’s pretty humid here, the same thing though if you don’t have sprinklers your grass dies.

Darlene Haskins: Yeah. It was pretty [inaudible] very, we could get up to like 120 degrees in California and dry heat.

Eric Lupton: Wow. And you were in Northern California?

Darlene Haskins: mm-hm. Northern California.

Eric Lupton: So do you…?

Darlene Haskins: I was born in right outside of Stockton and then we moved up towards my mom’s side Stockton, Modesto, Tracy, Sacramento.

Eric Lupton: Yep.

Darlene Haskins: Yeah. I’ve been all up and down {unclear}

Eric Lupton: I only know California geography because of life saver pool fence dealers. So my idea of California is directly connected to where we have a dealer. So we have somebody in Sacramento, so I know that– I know we’ve got somebody in San Jose and so I know he’s like Southwest to him kind of. And then we’ve got somebody in Bakersfield and Fresno, so that’s up you know little south of them. And then obviously Los Angeles and then Mr. John Ford in San Diego, he’s down there, so, so, yeah. But my whole California geography is based on where dealers are, if you don’t deal there I don’t know it exists that’s it’s off my map, yeah.

Darlene Haskins: Yeah. Yeah. We were northern. I remember when we were– I was little– when I was like 12, my parents use– my parents were separated and they would actually send me on Greyhound to go visit the other one. Like, I would go on the bus back in the day, when you can stick your kid on the bus and send them off.

Eric Lupton: Could you imagine do that to your kid now?

Darlene Haskins: Huh?

Eric Lupton: Could you imagine do that for your kid now? No?

Darlene Haskins: No, no. I wouldn’t even probably put my 17-year-old on the bus, but yeah. But I did it, but we went– I went from South California or so I learned, southern to northern, went through Sacramento, had a layover and then got to my mom’s.

Eric Lupton: And you do that without a cell phone?

Darlene Haskins: Without a cell phone yeah, we use cell phones.

Eric Lupton: Right. So I mean that means if you got in trouble you couldn’t even use a cell phone to call for help?

Darlene Haskins: No.

Eric Lupton: Right. That’s crazy isn’t it?

Darlene Haskins: We had to fend for ourselves back then.

Eric Lupton: Yeah. At 12 years old?

 Darlene Haskins: Yeah. And I think now if you do– if you do send a kid on a bus, I think they have to have like a paid chaperone or something.

Eric Lupton: Wow. I used to ride my chair to school in the middle school, and it wasn’t close, like I mean it was– it was within five miles but you know I was still riding five miles it my chair to school with each day and back. I was– and now I can’t imagine seeing a 11-year-old in a wheelchair on Congress Avenue, you know on the way to middle school.  I just– it doesn’t seem likely you know, yeah.

Darlene Haskins: Yeah. My mom said she’s– if she was raising kids today she would probably been arrested already, things she allowed us to do. She used to tell us to ride though, or go on the railroad tracks, follow them to the store and get milk and come back. We would actually buy her milk and cigarettes and come back following the railroad tracks, and I would never do that now. Like I– yeah, totally different time.

Eric Lupton: And then the things that weren’t safe back then, right? You know you wouldn’t tell your kids never to get in a car with strangers right? But now you think it’s much stranger or much more dangerous for your kid to drive, than for her to get into a car with a stranger on an uber app right? You think its way safer for her to use an uber to get from A to B than for her to go out with her friends and have her 16-year-old friend drive, right?

Darlene Haskins: Right.

Eric Lupton: You know if you– did you ever think there would be a time where you’d be like, you know what, I think it’s safer for my 16-year-old to get into a car with a stranger and have them drive her?

Darlene Haskins: No. There’s a lot of things that are definitely weird these days.

Eric Lupton: But now it is, right?

Darlene Haskins: Now well I actually pick up– I do ubering on my lunch…

Eric Lupton: That’s cool.

Darlene Haskins: So I actually pick up a kid that’s [inaudible07:32] on lunch, so.

Eric Lupton: So you use a consistent route every day?

Darlene Haskins: Yep. Parent– well the parent doesn’t hire me as uber, she just knows I’m uber. So she knows that I’m cleared, and you know everything you have to do to go through Uber to be a driver. She knows I am an uber driver, she just hires me on the side and pays me cash through PayPal or you know keep pays me through PayPal. So, but yeah I go pick them up. Because I don’t think you’re allowed to like– the school doesn’t allow uber to come pick you up in middle school like they can, so they kind of regulate it a little bit. So, so she just found me on a mom’s group and everybody was like, “oh Miss Darlene does uber you got to call her.”

Eric Lupton: What made you decide to do uber?

Darlene Haskins: Extra income on the off-season because I’m out of the water. In the summer I’m in the water about 10 hours a day like all day, and now I have about 4 hours lunch break so I was like well while I’m running errands and stuff, I’ll just uber. So it brings in some extra cash, so.

Eric Lupton: I always thought it’d be fun, like I always wanted to do it not for the extra money necessarily. I just thought it’d be cool to do, I don’t know I’m weird but.

Darlene Haskins: I’ve met some very interesting people and I haven’t met any bad crowd. People are like, “oh you got to be your– you know be very careful, you need to buy a gun or buy a [inaudible 08:51] or something,” and I haven’t had any issues not not one. They’re very interesting like they’ll talk about their background and I’ll learn all kinds of stuff about them, take them to the airport.

Eric Lupton: And for you I have a friend who is a business consultant. I think he spoke at the conference you went to ‘Don the idea guy’, you know ‘Don the idea guy’?

Darlene Haskins: Yeah. Okay.

Eric Lupton: ‘Don the idea guy’ is an uber driver and he uses it to promote his business. So he’s got on the back of the chair that they’re you know the back of his chariot, so the chair they’re looking at he’s got a little brochure holder. And he’s got like ideas up or whatever in business cards back there and you know people will…

Darlene Haskins: That’s actually a good idea. I have a rap on my car which definitely advertises, but I didn’t think about the back of the seat. I definitely should get that.

Eric Lupton: Yeah so he kind of you know bring– its there so people bring it up like, what do you do? And you know he gives his little spiel and you know most people don’t own businesses they they can hire him, but some do but a lot of people have kids and a lot of people have pools. So I think, you know that’d be a good idea for you.

Darlene Haskins: Yep. Yep. I definitely– it’s almost every single person that gets in my car talks about the rap so it always comes up, and then I usually give out a card and I’ve gotten clients from that which is pretty cool.

Eric Lupton: So there you go. I mean you’re making money off uber but you’re probably even better you’re advertising, the ISR.

Darlene Haskins: Yeah. Well and like people when people say anything about that like not doing it because it could be dangerous, there’s a lot of things I mean if I just– like when I went to Africa, people not everybody, but I had some comments well, “why you going to Africa? You got to be really safe you know you shouldn’t be going”. I’m like if I live my life scared I would never do anything.

Eric Lupton: Right. And in the Africa we see in movies it’s not real life Africa, right? I mean we see all these, I’ve seen anyways a lot of these African kind of PSA videos where they show, you know this is the Africa we see on TV and then this is real Africa. And it looks like New York in LA in Sacramento, you know the big cities and you know modern infrastructure, and you know all the stuff you’d expect in a first world country. So, so why did you go to Africa?

Darlene Haskins: We started a global dual outreach, so I had actually started originally I had started a Facebook group. So it was like for just education and I intended it to just be like our community and my families and people I was teaching, and I was just wanting to get information out. And when I talk to people I get so much information all at once and I kind of just [inaudible11:30] them. So it’s just too much and people aren’t taking it in, so I was like well maybe I’ll start a group and then just post education little tips here and there here and there. So then it’s just gradually in there and that’s not just bombarded, and people were sharing with their friends out of State some out of a country. So it ended up being a global page which I wasn’t expecting and so that was kind of weird, so I just kind of have gone with the flow. So somebody contacted me from Africa and asked us to come help with their swim program and I was just like that’s okay. Well if I have the money we can raise it then we’ll go and I really wasn’t expecting to raise the money and we did, which was cool. So we went and taught 109 adults and 300 children.

Eric Lupton: Out of curiosity for anybody else who’s doing a nonprofit right now, how do you raise the money?

Darlene Haskins: I just asked.

Eric Lupton: Oh. Okay.

Darlene Haskins: When I was– I didn’t actually know what I was doing so I didn’t have the foundation yet, so I just asked some parents. So I just said, “hey I want to go to Africa and if you guys want to help me”, and like 2 months before the deadline all the money just came in,  it was pretty cool. So it was just personal donations, paid for the flight paid for everything. But we taught 109 adults and 300 children which was really cool. I would say only about 5% were comfortable in the water and could swim-ish. Everybody else had no idea about buoyancy, breath control, any, like nothing, because they don’t really swim. Where I was at they don’t really swim recreationally, so they just yeah so they just don’t have a lot of experience in the water. So like they just had actually where we were near Tanzania, they had a ferry capsized. And I had like 700 people in it and almost all of them had died because of sheer lack of swim skills for one, but the boat the 13:30 ferry was over capacity which is common there. They don’t really have the regulations to keep it in place, there was just a suggested capacity, so it was overloaded for sure. And that’s happened many many many times, but people could be surviving these things if they could swim, so it’s really sad. And when I’ve talked to Nathan I think he said, [inaudible 13:56] with– he was on your show with the International Water Safety Foundation.

Eric Lupton: He’s awesome yeah.

Darlene Haskins: Yeah I love him and I love his energy. I’ve talked to him on [inaudible14:05] time.  He was very very pleased to see that we brought, we actually brought one back. We brought Jimmy back and he stayed for 6 months and learned water safety and CPR lifeguarding. So he’s back in Uganda now and he’s working with the Uganda Life Saving Federation to get trainings out. So he’s got skills that he can share with them now and I don’t have to go back over there and train, because I brought somebody here and shared my stuff, so it’s pretty cool. The only thing I didn’t share was the infants because that’s what ISR– there’s all kinds of regulations on that. So he learned American Red Cross which was pretty cool, and he had blast. He actually played for our soccer team while he was here, which was pretty cool.

Eric Lupton: Nice. How long was he here for?

Darlene Haskins: 6 months.

Eric Lupton: Wow that’s a long time.

Darlene Haskins: So yeah. We kind of adopted him, but he was he was…

Eric Lupton: I saw he used your last name on Facebook now, right?

Darlene Haskins: Yes. People kept asking me about that, he wanted an American name.

Eric Lupton: Okay. I don’t– when I saw his name was like I’m just thinking his name isn’t Jimmy either by the way.

Darlene Haskins: No it’s Jimmy.

Eric Lupton: Is it really?

Darlene Haskins: So his name’s Waswa Jimmy, because Jimmy’s his name in his middle name. A lot of them there have American middle name. So like there’s a [inaudible 15:27] if I’m saying that right – Joseph. And then Francis was one of them, but they like, they have different, like I can’t even say his name Sh…I want to say Sudoku but it’s not right. A lot of their names start with double S’s. In that area that we were at where they speak like Swahili so they, depending on their tribe they’re [inaudible 15:51] by their tribe. So, but they have usually a first name and then like an American name and then their last name, which is pretty cool.

Eric Lupton: Do they do that deliberately, so?

Darlene Haskins: I’m not sure. I’m I don’t know I don’t know what the story is with that, but a lot of them have like George William [inaudible 16:13], I can’t even say half of the names. But his name is George. I go by George and then there’s Justin but they all have African names, like that’s just their middle name it’s really, yeah.

Eric Lupton:  I know I thought it was kind of like I’m wrong apparently. I know in China and other Asian countries in school they pick an American name to use and if they come in contact with Americans for business or in life they have this American name that they use. You know you know it’s like a fake name essentially, because they know we can’t pronounce their names. So you know I deal with a Bob and Mike, there was an Eric at one point you know and I’m like, I know your name’s not really Bob like I’m really sure about that, you know.

Darlene Haskins: But this is actually on his birth certificate, his passport, it’s his middle name, so yeah. So we call him Jimmy because a lot of people can’t pronounce the Waswa. So his name is Waswa and then his last name is Insalah. It’s hard to say but we just call him Jimmy and everybody loved him, the families love him, the kids loved him, he did it. So we– what we did was we brought him and when he learned everything, he also did an outreach for us. So in the summer we did a summer outreach for people that can’t afford the regular lessons that are 7 and up, they could learn to swim and float and jump in and dive and get toys and just be water safe. So they had like a two-week training and if they wanted to sign up for 2 more weeks they could and a lot of them ended up signing up for four and six weeks. And they ended up really loving Jimmy so it was a good good program. So we had an outreach here which helped our our community and then he went back and now he’s helping his community.

Eric Lupton: And how old is he?

Darlene Haskins: He’s 18. Yeah. So that that’s, so that’s why we called it the Global Dual Outreach because we’re helping both us and them, so.

Eric Lupton: And how is he selected from?

Darlene Haskins: He was actually one of the ones that we kept in contact with and so he was he was one of the ones that just kept contacting us and kept in communication. A lot of the other ones kind of fell back a little bit. And then I had 5 that we had selected to come and 4 got denied their visas. It’s very very hard to get the visa to come to America.

Eric Lupton: Probably harder now than it was probably at one point.

Darlene Haskins: Yeah and I think he got in right at the cut-offs like something’s going on government-wise, so he got in before they did. They tried about a month later and they were all denied which really sucks because they pay all the money, they travel into the town to do the embassy interview, they do all the process it’s about 300 bucks I’d say, get a hotel or motel, get a you know a suit to look nice, you know transport is not easy, so. And I feel like where they came from they had to ride a ferry, it’s a ferry and drive into town like 2 hours.

Eric Lupton: Plus the emotional investment and you know.

Darlene Haskins: And they all got the night except for Jimmy so that’s actually why he was the only one that got to come. So now we have an application process and they’ve actually those four are on our applications, so if they want to try again they can but I don’t know if it’s going to work or not. But they’re out all that money from the first one so they’re not eager to go and pay it all again.

Eric Lupton: Yeah. They’ve already tried and failed, yeah.

Darlene Haskins: Yeah because money is a little tight there and they don’t make I guess they all kind of think we’re wealthy here, which not all of us are wealthy but they just kind of see America as wealthy.

Eric Lupton:  Well and there’s relative wealth too so you know.

Darlene Haskins: Yeah. So they make about and I’ve tried to like talk to them and like figure out how that works, but they don’t make more than like 10 a day or something 5 a day, so they live on unlimited resources. But when you’re there you realize that it’s not that bad because they, all their stuff is cheaper like the food is cheaper and their transports cheaper and everything. The only thing that’s weird that’s not cheaper is electronics, like if you get a cell phone it’s exactly the same price or more than it is here, or a TV or something, anything electronic is is our prices which…

Eric Lupton: Because they’re imported?

Darlene Haskins: Yeah. So, but but food is good and I really like the way that they eat fresh fruit, fresh meats, I love that. And I love their community – Phil – they’re very community oriented. I really really like that. I miss Africa I wouldn’t mind and go back. I’m actually supposed to be going to South Africa next year and that I might I might make a trip up the Uganda again, we’ll see.

Eric Lupton: Why South Africa?

Darlene Haskins: Durban South Africa is the world drowning conference in 2019, in October probably, so making plans to attend that. Tony Torre Jia I think that’s how you say his name on a Canada, he wants me to speak specifically about the Global Dual Outreach, but that’s a big conference so I’m not sure if I’m gonna do it. But but he’s been a big resource, Tony and all the different organizations. I was actually going to tell you I think Kerry had talked to you last week about parents preventing childhood drowning group that just came up. So they want me to make a mention it, because like when I started with the water safety and and training and all that, and learning more and more and being shocked like everybody else, like drowning is the number one cause of death, how is this even possible? I didn’t know, and then all the layers I never knew any of this. I was in aquatics for 20-plus-years on the side, like I did I did teaching, I did early childhood education, grant writing, open to daycare, stuff like that. But on the side I would go to the local city pool or whatever and I would lifeguard and swim lessons for like a couple hours. So I was always kind of like a hobby, I just liked it just for fun. And what I never knew ever, but this was an issue until I got into ISR a journey prevention and that [inaudible 22:36] everything’s rolled since there. But I’ve learned through like Abbey’s Hope, Collin’s Hope, Jack Helping Memorial Foundation, because of Braden looked like Jake all these ones you always hear about on Facebook you know so I just pulled information pull safely all these different…

Eric Lupton: Al