Diveheart Foundation

Rating: 4.98 stars   62 reviews

Issues: Health, Human Services, Sports

Location: 900 Ogden Ave #274 Downers Grove IL 60515 USA

Mission: Diveheart helps build confidence and independence in children, adults and veterans with disabilities through the sport of scuba diving. The DIVEHEART VISION: It is our hope to bring the disabled dive industry up to the level of the disabled ski industry by 2020. For example: fifty or more years ago if an individual in a wheelchair rolled up to a ski resort in Colorado and wanted to downhill ski, there were no opportunities. Today, many ski resorts and operators around the world cater to skiers with disabilities, giving them the opportunity to experience the excitement of Alpine skiing. We believe that as individuals with disabilities discover that scuba diving is an activity that they can easily participate in, the tide will rise and the growing demand will necessitate that dive retailers, manufacturers, instructors, operators and resorts recognize and meet the need.
Programs: Diveheart has programs for children, adults and veterans with disabilities.
2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

We found out about Diveheart through my dad who saw the WGN special. My son and I attended one of their picnics and my 13 year old was able to experiencing diving. He was diagnosed with autism when he was 2yr. He has always loved swimming so to discover diving was simply amazing. He came out of the water with the biggest grin I have ever seen. if it wasn't for Diveheart I would still be searching for activities that my son could enjoy.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Our 22 year old son Matthew has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair. During the 2013-14 school year, Matthew attended the Illinois Center for Rehabilitation and Education (ICRE) in Chicago. While at ICRE Matthew was introduced to Diveheart and scuba diving. He was apprehensive at first but decided to give it a try. With the patient help of Jim Elliott of Diveheart and Ron Rispoli of ICRE, Matthew was successful underwater in the pool at ICRE. We then learned that Ron Rispoli was planning an ICRE/Diveheart diving trip to Key Largo in July. We decided to sign the whole family up for the trip and my 20 year old son Jake and I also signed up to learn how to dive. Diveheart arranged several training sessions for all three of us as well as online training to become certified divers. Our family was now looking forward to an exciting vacation adventure and couldn't wait for July to get here. We ended up having our best vacation experience of all time. Our trip started off with a training dive off the beach at Pennekamp State Park. The next three days we spent on the boat with the Rainbow Reef Dive Center in Key Largo. The folks at Rainbow Reef went above and beyond in every way, getting four adults in wheelchairs on and off the boat and safely into and out of the water. The weather and diving was great all four days and we couldn't have asked for more (I give thanks and praise to God for that. I know he was with us on this trip). Because of Jim Elliott and Ron Rispoli, our son Matthew now has the confidence to do something we never even thought possible. We are now a scuba diving family, although we still have to get Mom Margaret under water. There are so many bad things in our world, but also more good things. We need to support people like Jim Elliot and groups like Diveheart. They are truly angels on earth.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

...give them all the money they need to make their dreams a reality.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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Rating: 5 stars  

I found out about about diveheart through the rehabilation Institute of Chicago. I have Cerebral Palsy but am always looking for activities that will challenge me. When I first met Diveheart, they were very professional, knowledgeable and fun to work with. I had such a blast with them!

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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Rating: 5 stars  

Our 11-year-old son Matthew has cerebral palsy and is very limited in the physical activities in which he can participate. The first time we went to a Diveheart event Matthew was pretty nervous since he had never scubaed before and wasn't sure what to expect. The volunteers were incredibly nice and they made Matthew feel comfortable immediately. In no time he was underwater and loving it! Gravity is his enemy but underwater he can be free to move around just like everybody else. We had done quite a bit of research on Diveheart before we went to the event and we had very high expectations. Those expectations weren't only met--they were exceeded.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A lot

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

Diveheart has served my son who has autism well over the years. The volunteers are all super kind and generous with their time. They have helped my him to recognize that he can accomplish something he has never tried before. I will not forget how it brought happy tears to my eyes when he did make a dive under the water in a local swimming pool. Awesome work, Diveheart! You have helped raise my son's self-esteem in a fun way.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A lot

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

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Rating: 5 stars  

Diveheart has opened up a brand new world for my twin sons with Autism. Both boys are avid swimmers and are on a summer swim team, but Diveheart has shown them that moving slowly in the water allows you to see and experience so much more. My sons said that "breathing underwater is like being a fish and not having to come up for air". The Diveheart volunteers are caring, supportive and I felt completely at ease watching them in the water. Thank you to Jim and the whole Diveheart organization for offering "another way to share our beautiful planet".

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Seeing my boys smiling faces when they accomplished their first scuba learning experience.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

No changes needed. Keep up the fantastic and life changing work.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I had the opportunity to experience diving with DIVEHEART at the Wisconsin Women Veterans Conference held at Ft McCoy, WI this past weekend. As a 100% disabled combat Veteran DIVEHEART helped build my confidence that I CAN particpate in active sports. The most amazing part was being able to float on the bottom of the pool and experience TOTAL pain relief for a few moments in my life. I hope DIVEHEART can expand it's program and reach all disabled veterans across the country.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Milwaukee and Ft McCoy, WI

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

make it more available to disabled veterans nation wide

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Rating: 5 stars  

My name is John J2 Mryczko and I am a action sports enthusiast, designer, promoter, producer, entrepreneur, and motivational speaker living with a spinal cord injury. I have been involved in Action sports for almost all my life. i have tried and participated in many sports but never got a chance to try SCUBA untill DiveHeart

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

i have gone diving with diveheart. video and photos at www.J2RollsOn.com and www.ExtremeChairing.org

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

do nothing.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Everyone involved in Diveheart is wonderful. I feel comfortable in the water right away. I need help getting the tank on, and all the care I receive while in the water is terrific. My son,who is my diving buddy just got certified this summer, it was the highlight of his summer. The freedom he felt while diving was fantastic.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The freedom found in movement under water, that due to my MS, I do not have on land.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-8-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

My son has autism. He was invited by Diveheart to "give it a try" at a "Discover Scuba" class for people with a disability. When we arrived, I was touched by the number of great and happy volunteers (certified divers) in the mix of people. They approached us and introduced themselves and made us feel welcomed. But what actually transpired during the course of that evening for my son is difficult to find the right words to describe ALL their successes. My son, up to that point, had not been able to complete a task without suffering from a meltdown before, during or after an event. That evening, however, in the water, with 3:1 volunteer staff/participant ratio, he was engaged. He was able to don mask, tank, weightbelt, etc. and make his first official discovery of what it is like to be able to move and breathe freely while under water. Now, he is no longer fearful of water, and looks forward to participating in future dives. Thank you, Diveheart. You are all special people who help turn one's disability into an ability. We cannot thank you all enough. Glad we finally came to your "Discover Scuba" class. All the best, May

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Diveheart - what is so striking about this organization? It is the people who are happy to work with others with various disabilities, including Autism. They try to understand so they can better assist my child through listening to my child and me.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-8-01

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