Diveheart

By Jim Elliot

Diveheart, a non-profit 510 (c) 3 organization, was founded in 2001. The vision was to build confidence and independence and self esteem in children, adults and veterans with disabilities through scuba diving. Thanks to the wonder of the water column, the oceans and lakes of the world become the forgiving weightless environment of inner space. This offers perfect buoyancy and balance to any individual who might struggle on land in the hope of providing physical and psychological therapeutic value. It is a can-do spirit that Diveheart seeks to instill in our participants.

Since its inception Diveheart has trained thousands of volunteers in order to be able to carry on our mission throughout the world. We have worked with individuals across the U.S. and in Mexico, Israel, Australia, China, the Caribbean and more. Diveheart’s dream is to have a site where we can serve children, adults and veterans with disabilities through scuba therapy, and where we can address research, rehabilitation, education, and vocational training. Furthermore, we envision that our facility will allow us to train individuals from around the world to scuba dive with individuals with disabilities. These divers can in turn, return to their homes and train even more people. The potential impact on the lives of individuals with disabilities around the world is enormous.

The mission of Diveheart Military Wounded (DMW) is to invigorate the spirit and the imagination of our veterans with disabilities by using scuba diving as a tool to build confidence and independence, offer a sense of freedom and high adventure, and empower individuals to set goals and believe in reaching them. We all need to be valued and have a purpose. DMW’s mission based diving philosophy gives our veteran participants that purpose again, helping them cope with their “New Normal” so they can focus on what they can do instead of what they can’t do. As Darrell Young says, a Vietnam veteran and paraplegic who is a Diveheart participant, “If I can scuba dive, I can do anything.”

We can work with virtually any type of disability. Our participants include individuals who have paraplegia, quadriplegia, amputation(s), vision and/or hearing impairment, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and many other types of physical and cognitive disabilities.

Our dive instructors and buddies have undergone rigorous adaptive diving instruction in order to be able to dive with and assist individuals with disabilities. Many of our diving adventures take place in the lakes and oceans of the world, but our diving instruction and many programs happen in community pools including those in recreation or rehab centers, high schools, hotels, hospitals and more.

Diveheart’s headquarters are in Downers Grove, Illinois near Chicago. Our first international chapter has been launched in the U.K. and we have chapters across the United States. Diveheart works with individuals, clubs, recreation groups, hospitals, and veteran organizations throughout the U.S. as well as in Mexico, Israel, Australia, the Caribbean, China, South America and more.

To learn more about what we do and how you can be involved, please visit our website at http://diveheart.org/

 

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Ocean Geographic Explorer (OGX) is a diving adventure resource with a special focus on marine photography and ocean conservation. Our content is divided up into six primary categories: Travel, Sea Science,  Equipment, Photography &Video, Conservation, and Lifestyle. We endeavor be a portal for people with all levels of interest in the marine environment  to learn about and become part of a community of like-minded ocean lovers who enjoy sharing their knowledge of and experiences in our fascinating ocean world.

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