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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

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

162 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

Diveheart allows people who would otherwise not be able to experience the joy and calmness that scuba diving can provide. The volunteers who provide support for the divers are the most caring and loving people on the planet.
If you feel you can volunteer or can benefit from their services, I recommend you contact them.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My son has a Traumatic Brain Injury and has been diving with Diveheart for 12 years. His association with Diveheart has brought him joy, confidence and a great feeling of accomplishment. I have found that the volunteers are extremely well trained and really love what they do. I have seen them take a person who is scared and turn that fear into one great big smile. As a non-diving volunteer that alone makes it all worthwhile.

Donor

Rating: 5

Diveheart is a truly phenomenal program! They help people who are greatly handicapped and give them the ability to realize that they can really DO Activities they never dreamed of being able to accomplish because of their physical limitations. Diveheart really makes a difference in quality of life!

Camille M.1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Diveheart is simply amazing!! They provide incredible opportunities for all ability levels and create a totally gratifying experience for everyone involved!

Donor

Rating: 5

Diveheart is an incredible organization with fantastic volunteers like Dave, whose dedication significantly impacts people’s lives and happiness. The organization provides so much value to its community, and the culture they have developed is inspiring and inclusive.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I’m very impressed with Diveheart as it helps many people with disabilities, especially those with autism. Jim, Tinamarie as well as the staff and volunteer diving buddies are passionate in making all participants feel welcome. Whether it’s in a local pool or the ocean, Jim, Tinamarie and the buddies help people develop confidence and independence in such a freeing and positive atmosphere. They never see people with disabilities but with abilities.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My daughter is a participant in the Oak Lawn Park District Special Recreation programs. Diveheart contacted staff members of the park district and discussed taking some of the special needs athletes scuba diving. That was over ten years ago. Since that initial meeting dozens of special needs athletes have participated in the discover scuba programs. Many got their diving certification. It’s a great program that gives the participants confidence and motivation that transitions to other aspects of their life. As a parent I got hooked and have been an active volunteer.

Claude Anthony J.

Donor

Rating: 5

Therapy, yes Scuba Therapy is amazing.
Autism, focus and attention returned for short times.
PTSD, feeling better and documented.
NERVE PAIN gone for weeks with no medications.
HELP-DONATE to fund documentation and research to create the best therapy results for these vets, children and adults with disabilities if all kinds.
Witnesses and testimonials are there.
See the web site: DIVEHEART.ORG
TRUELY fantastic results.
But, medical documented records are necessary to get the needed grants. Your donations will get it done. Everyone knows someone with a disability, do it for them and all the others that can be helped. PLEASE.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Diveheart is an amazing organization with people truly dedicate to improving the lives of the people it serves. We Empower people with a can do spirit and greater self-esteem through scuba.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first worked with Diveheart last year at one of their Discover Scuba experiences and was hooked immediately: the transformation in the confidence and animation of the adaptive divers was awe inspiring. I was reminded of Jesus's injunction to the blind man: "go, your faith has healed you." Last week I had the opportunity to train as an adaptive buddy which necessitated simulating the experience of blind divers, paraplegic divers and quadriplegic divers through blackout masks and restrictions on my limbs. All I can say is that the courage and trust of the adaptive diver is extraordinary: to be underwater and dependent (to a varying degree) on your buddies truly requires faith.

To be frank, before I got involved and was considering a large donation, I wondered whether the tremendous effort and logistics put into helping people with limitations was really worth it in terms of the payoff. Now I am convinced: it's a huge amount of effort and work but the organization is almost entirely volunteer and much of the equipment is donated. But more importantly, the payoff is huge. Already I saw people whose lives were transformed by their experiences. I can never really put myself in their shoes but I can certainly testify to their joy and inspiration after the dives.

1 Tracy C.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

DiveHeart has quite seriously changed my life. I was an avid scuba diver before a neuro disease left me with very limited mobility, and thought I would never dive again. These divers are stone cold professionals with fire hot hearts whose respectful and collaborative help and friendship gave this Navy Vet back her confidence, power, and sense of self. I feel hopeful and empowered now in other areas of life as well from this experience, and am indescribably grateful to the men and women of this stellar organization.

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