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Diveheart Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Centers to Support the Independence of Specific Populations, Health, Health Care, Human Services, Recreation & Sports, Sports

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.

Community Stories

151 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

There is inspirational work being done in our own communities to help raise the level of awareness and need of all humanity. Diveheart embodies compassion in action.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer I find the work done at Diveheart quite inspirational. The confidence this adventure brings the handicapped is incredible. It’s an experience they would never be able to have without the support of Diveheart and the large hearts that run the program. We need to be able to help more disabled children, vets and anyone who has physical limitations, and this can only be done with the generous support of donors everywhere. If you could only experience the joys first hand these people experience, you would want to assist this fine charity as much as possible. This is life changing stuff!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer I have seen firsthand how Diveheart transforms the lives of disabled children, adults, and wounded veterans. It makes my heart soar to see a participant arrive at a Diveheart Scuba Experience not knowing what to expect, and sometimes intimidated or a bit blue because he or she is accustomed to being on the sidelines and sitting out while everyone else is having fun. Within a few minutes apprehension becomes joy as first breaths are taken under water, and then the feelings of freedom and tranquility take over. And the participants aren't the only ones benefiting. Parents, spouses, friends, and us volunteers are on the journey too. To be part of such a experience makes me feel like I must have done something right to deserve such fulfillment.

On top of everything else, Diveheart is an organization that is very financially efficient. No one is on a salary, everyone supports the activities out of their own pockets, and all of the donations go directly toward what I call "making the magic happen" under water. It's incredible how Diveheart has grown across the U.S. and even internationally over more than 20 years with everyone involved donating their time. It makes me very happy and proud to be a volunteer with Diveheart!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Greatest group of people. We have gone to events all over place. Every time we do, different volumes tweets but always the same enthusiasm and compassion. Truly a giving group of people.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I found this group to be a focused hardworking group of very compassionate people. I became involved and found my time with this group to be very rewarding for myself and the others who participated in the training and in the support of the people we were blessed to be diving with. we all found a way to use our love of diving to enrich the lives of people who would never have a chance to dive, unless this and other programs exist to support them. It is a lot of satisfying hard work. The reward is the happiness of our fellow divers and being able to provide a way for them to gain more independence and go where very few in the wold go.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I love Diveheart! They come to my Special Rec and dive with us. I have been doing it for a couple of years and always look for them first when picking programs. They are very nice and treat us really nice. For about 45 minutes I get soooo close to my wish to be a mermaid! Someday I hope to go on a trip with them. Great people! They give me something special to talk to people about and that helps me have friends. It also helps to exercise my legs and muscles so they aren't tight.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Diveheart has the same goals as a Special Ed teacher which I was for 34 years. As a trained Buddy I get to see the faces of the disabled after completing each dive. What a life changing experience that couldn’t have been done anywhere but with Diveheart!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My wife and I went through the Diveheart dive buddy training several years ago. I have to say it was the best diving training not only to help disabled clients learning to experience diving (zero gravity) but was also a great course for self preservation as a recreational diver and should be on the list of all divers who want advanced diving skills. Jim Elliott is an exceptional individual involved in a ground breaking arena that could potentially be quite profound in future therapeutic health science for Autistic as well as pain patients and more! Support of his organization, Diveheart, is warrented and exceedingly worthy!!

Randy & Annette Stoneman

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I love Willamina Stanton for giving me and others with many different disabilities the opportunity to scuba dive and feel free in the water. Wilhelmina finds the greatest volunteers to help us find freedom and enjoyment in an environment where everyone is equal. Jim Elliott the founder of Diveheart and Wilhelmina have such compassion for people like myself who often have difficulty fitting into society. They build such confidence in us. God bless them. Larry Yates

spoli13

Board Member

Rating: 5

This is a phenomenal organization that brings so much joy to so many, not just the participants but also to their family and friends, and the volunteers that work with them. Diveheart offers those with physical and/or cognitive disabilities the opportunity to experience weightlessness while participating in one of the coolest sports around. Scuba diving helps to build a person's confidence and self esteem, and this increased confidence and self-esteem carries over to other aspects of a person's life.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

Diveheart is a wonderful organization that has touched thousands of lives over the past 16 years! The "Can Do" spirit that Diveheart exudes has allowed so many individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities to participate in an amazing sport and realize their potential!

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Client Served

Rating: 5

I have a 31 year old daughter with Autism, Borderline mental impairment, Executive Functioning disorder, ADHD, and mild CP. She never really had friends and was not athletically inclined so we tried everything to create fun social encounters for her. She perticipates in a local Special Recreation Assoc and they offered scuba thru Diveheart and at a very affordable cost because of Divehearts volunteerism. Of course I was scared but she really wanted to do this as swimming and being a mermaid are her favorite things. So off we went . When I saw all of the volunteer trainers and that 2 at least were going to be with her at all times I felt more comfortable, but when I saw how they patiently explained and demonstrated repeatedly until she could show what she understood I was totally sold on this experience. She loves going there and knows most of the volunteers by name as they do her. It is truly exciting to watch her grow. AND she now has something special to tell her peers and show them she can do so much!!! She wants to progress further and eventually go on a dive trip with this group in the future. Can't say enough about this nonprofit and the encouraging and cheerful way they make everyone feel special and welcome.

Beverly C.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As Advanced Adaptive Dive Buddies, my husband and I have had such great fun with the Diveheart family. The Adaptive Divers, Adaptive Dive Buddies, and Diveheart staff are just the type of people we like to hang out with -- kind, thoughtful, fun loving, brave and adventurous.
This organization helps make life worth living!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am Christina Ford and have been involved with Diveheart since 2013. I reconnected with my childhood friend, Wil Stanton, who runs the South Florida chapter, and she encouraged me to become a certified scuba diver. Since my first dive, I have fallen in love with the Diveheart Community. Diveheart has shown me that there are no limitations on what I can do. They have given me encouragement, confidence, and a feeling of independence. I am thankful and looking forward to many more dives.

Client Served

Rating: 5

It is a great program and experience. If you would like to work more with Adaptive Divers, I highly recommend this training program, since it will prepare for this experiences. Our staff just did the ADB and ASI training with Jim Elliot and I found it more complete than other instructor programs that I have done before for divers with disabilities.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hearing a gown man giggle like a 10 year old boy! I'm fairly certain it had been a while for him but, that is what happened when we dove with a thirty something year old vet! What a great opportunity for my wife and I to take disabled divers into the pool. 10 years later we can't wait for the next opportunity. Be sure to ask the team about Gabi.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter (age 9) and autistic son (age 12) both went scuba diving with Jim. My son has many sensory issues and didn't want to put his head under water. Jim was great with him. By the end of the session, Jim actually got my son to quickly put his head under water! That was huge for us!

This organization has a fantastic mission and all of the volunteers are committed to it. The organization is efficiently run. You can't help but be inspired when you see the videos of the impact the organization has on the lives of those they serve.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Phenomenal endeavor that not only selflessly gives to an underserved and often disenfranchised community... but builds bridges in helping heal physical and emotional wounds! Diveheart if full of amazing people, among the best I have ever met! Working with Diveheart has been personally life changing, and undeniably transformative!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Diveheart since 2013. My single most endearing experiences in diving have been related to working with Diveheart. I started out as a volunteer, but have fallen in love with what they do so much that now I teach all of their courses and work directly for them! I have had the pleasure of attending multiple trips to several of their locations (Key Largo, Cozumel) and being a member of, or leading Adaptive Dive Teams on those trips. I have attended a multitude of their free Diveheart Scuba Experience (DSE) programs, and I have worked to teach their program to young people at colleges. While participating in Diveheart events, I have seen more people express true emotions of gratitude, love, thankfulness, kindness, and empathy than in any other portion of my life. It seems like after every event, everyone leaves with a few more pieces of themselves than when they started, whether they knew they needed those pieces or not, they are just more whole as a person, adaptive divers and volunteers equally. One of my favorite parts about working for Diveheart is seeing that immediate benefit and healing of souls right in front of my own eyes. We talk about "Imagining the Possibilities," but witnessing the possibilities becoming realities elicits one of the most powerful feelings of connection with others that I have ever experienced. You may start your Diveheart journey as an individual, but you will leave it as a member of the family. I love the mission and vision that Diveheart represents, and it is an absolute pleasure to work with them! Thank you!

Jo A.1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a Diveheart Scuba Instructor. I am so very proud to be a member of this organization. I have known Jim for many years and will continue to support this organization.

Mike J.1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have known Jim for many years. Great mission and great people carrying it out.