Impact Story – Y Staff
YMCA of Metro North aquatics programs empowered 17 year-old Robinson Arias to change the outcome of a stranger’s life. Robinson was looking to gain some work skills and planning for a summer job when he learned about a DCR lifeguard training program offered at no cost to members at the Lynn YMCA. He signed up, completed his many hours of training, received his certification and landed his dream summer job working at Nahant Beach as a lifeguard. He felt accomplished and prepared for his new job, but he could never have known that the training he received at the YMCA would change his life, and the life of a stranger, forever.
As he patrolled the beach one day, he spotted a woman out in the distance with her head above water but not moving. As part of his YMCA training, he learned to be on the lookout for situations just like this. Something did not feel right to him and he locked eyes with the swimmer and waved. She gave him a sign that she was in trouble. His raced to the water using his radio to notify his supervisor that a save was in progress. Keeping eye contact with the swimmer, he swam as quickly as he could to the struggling woman. Once he reached her, he calmly reassured her, telling her that he was there to help. He brought the woman back to shore where she received further care and was evaluated by EMTs.
“She thanked me a thousand times and told me that if I didn’t get there when I did, she would have drowned. She said she just couldn’t hold herself up any longer,” says Robinson. Looking back on that day and how professionally he responded, Robinson realized his response felt like second nature because he had practiced for a situation like this so many times at the YMCA.
“The Y has influenced my life in such a positive way,” says Robinson. “I had the opportunity to learn a skill, obtain a job and use my skills to save a life. I believe my Y training is the sole reason I was able to respond the way I did that day.”