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Island Dolphin Care

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Health, Rehabilitative Care

Mission: TO PROVIDE UNIQUE, THERAPEUTIC AND EDUCATIONAL, & INTERACTIVE MARINE SCIENCE EDUCATION & DOLPHIN ASSISTED THERAPY PROGRAMS, FOR SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN, ADULTS AND FAMILIES AND STUDENTS OF ALL AGES AND GRADES..

Target demographics: Teaching marine science education, helping children , veterans, & families. Our programs provide animal assisted therapy to individuals & families with special needs.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 4,000 visitors , over 2,000 students , 250 families with a child needing therapy, over 600 veterans & their families

Geographic areas served: Key Largo, Florida

Programs: Island dolphin care provides recreational & educational animal assisted therapy programs utilizing atlantic bottle nose dolphins to a wide range of participants. Island dolphin care programs support children, and adults with disabilities, chronic & terminal illnesses, participant's family members as well as veterans & military personnel that have been injured while in service to our country. The island dolphin care center provides marine science education to school children on field trips as well as to all visitors from the general public to the center. Our mobile touch tank brings an interactive learning lab that teaches students about invertebrates to school children of all ages. Additionally the mobile touch tank is brought to fairs and introduces invertebrates to the general public. All of our marine science education programs provide knowledge about conservation, protecting our oceans, its inhabitants and resources for future generations. Idc programs enable participants with disabilities to discover, achieve their goals, strengths, and to reach toward their fullest potential. All of the therapeutic programs at island dolphin care are implemented by trained therapists, and special education teachers. The program utilizes traditional treatment methods and pairs them with the extraordinary experience interacting with dolphins. This creates a unique and motivating therapy. The programs provide participants and their families with new resources, tools and techniques. All idc programs educate & inform participants, their families and the general public about the benefits of the animal assisted therapy provided at island dolphin care. Our achievements: time -out five day programs: these programs provide 5-day intensive therapy programs to participants that have a disability or illness and their family members. An average of 8 families per week attend the five day family program from march until november. Five day programs - 243 families attended the 5-day therapy program. Families (117) unable to afford to pay for this program received scholarships in order to attend. 37 additional programs were provided to children and families that were in need of a specialized private program due to circumstance or illness. Camps - (one -day camps) 18 one day camp programs were provided to children that have a disability, special need or illness. Family members or staff caring for them also attend. Ten of the nineteen camp programs were provided at no cost to the participants, family members or staff. These programs were funded through philanthropic support. Dolphin talks: (half day programs12 were provided to children with a disability, special need or illness, their families and staff all attended at no cost. These programs were funded by philanthropic support. Veterans & military personnel: veterans that have a disability or special need, attended 39 programs that have provided peer support and therapeutic benefits to those returning injured in combat. These programs were provided at no cost to the participants, their family members or caregivers and were funded through philanthropic support. 25 (adult) one day programs were provided to those in need of specialized programs. Community swim programs- community members from monroe county florida having a disabled or ill family member have attended a recreational swim program each fall since 1990. 150 community members were invited to participate in this program. All swimmers attend at no cost. Approximately 40 swimmers were provided swims through this program. Each year we estimate that approximately 4,000 visitors come to the center to participate in public education programs. Idc provided 61 marine science education programs at our facility. The portable touch tank program was brought to school students throughout south florida. The touch tank was also brought to many street fairs where thousands of individuals from the general public were introduced to invertebrates idc participates in florida surfers for autism events bringing art activities and the portable touch tank to the beach during the summer months throughout the state of florida. The event provides a day at the beach for children and their families having a member with autism. Children that wish to learn to surf are provided with surf experiences. Our staff volunteer to be a part of these terrific weekend events. At each event beachgoers from the event as well as the general public were introduced to invertebrates in our touch tank and enjoyed learning about them.

Community Stories

79 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our daughter has a rare chromosome disorder and is severely disabled. She absolutely loves coming here and so do her two siblings. From the moment you arrive the feeling of love and calm surrounds you!
It’s definitely our happy place, I’ve never seen my children smile so much. The therapy is wonderful and my daughter has achieved so much but the precious time together and feeling of acceptance has meant we’ve returned over and over again

Client Served

Rating: 5

I love the story behind IDC. The staff is very knowledgeable and friendly. I loved swimming with the dolphins!! I definitely see how this would be therapeutic. Great place, doing great things❤️

Jasmin S.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

We spent two wonderful weeks at Island Dolphin care with our daughter in 2020 right before the pandemic.

She was treated with so much love and made so much progress in this time- I never saw such special people anywhere else.

The therapy with the dolphins helped my daughter develop more strength and tension in her body. Her speech improved so much that anybody at home couldn’t believe we only stayed there two weeks.

But not only my daughter had a great time, but also the rest of the family could recover from all hard times we had with the hospital stays and bad things we had to go through.

Thanks to IDC, we were able to heal and find hope for life again!

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

In March 2019 our daughter Nena was able the best time of her life! She was doing a 7 day dolphin based therapy program at IDC.

Nena has had a kidney transplant 3 years ago, suffers from a muscular dystrophy and several other health problems.

After the time with the wonderful people and of course the dolphins her motorical skills, her speech and her ability to solve every day tasks have improved in an astonishing way!

Her teacher at home could‘t believe her progress.

But not only my daughter had a great time, but for all of our family it was a time of healing and spending time together. To see her laughing deep from her heart made us all very glad.

The team of IDC also was really great with Nenas older brother Samuel! He was treated in a very special way and felt welcome and included all the time.

We will nevet forget this special week and always be grateful for the time at Key Largo.

We certainly try to come back one day with our kids‘

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a vendor who has had the privilege of working with Island Dolphin Care on a personal level now for 4 years. When you meet the team at IDC, you are being adopted into their incredible, loving family. Deena is the type of "boss" (as your client), who creates a culture of "growth" with her vendors. She leads with grace, and is yet still humble to reach out to you for your advice. Everyone I have met who supports IDC absolutely loves the mission, the team, and loves supporting this incredible organization.

I have been extremely fortunate to grow alongside this organization, see them in action, and I know that EVERY dollar raised is going to their cause. These are real people, genuine people, and they are people making a difference in so many lives.

They are incredible!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was fortunate enough to be able to join a friend who volunteers for IDC during a volunteer appreciation day. The experience was magical for me. The knowledge I gained about their mission and what they do for disabled children and our military veterans was impressive. Definitely worth a visit and a donation if you can.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This place is awesome! Does so much to help so many disabled and educate the public on marine life! The staff and volunteers are amazing people! Just love it!!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As a local resident of the Florida Keys I am often asked to recommend a place for visitors to interact with dolphins. There are a handful of facilities to choose from and I always recommend Island Dolphin Care.
They provide therapy to children with special-needs, veterans with PTSD and first responders. Additionally they provide education to the general public and provide you with more knowledge than you thought you could know. Their mission is only to bring purpose, without exploitation, to the eight dolphins at their facility. All the staff are very knowledgeable, super friendly and dedicated to Island Dolphin Care’s overall vision of respecting and seeking the best life and environment possible for the eight dolphins in their care. You will remember your experience always and fondly.

Client Served

Rating: 5

IDC gave my brother some of the best moments of his life after suffering from a debilitating brain tumor. Sarah (Madame Dolphin) and Bella brought a smile broader than I've ever seen to his face; and gave his wife, Sue and myself the first tears of joy we'd been able to experience in many many months. Although he subsequently passed away, our day at IDC will forever be a memory that brings me peace, joy, and thankfulness.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am so proud to be a volunteer at Island Dolphin Care! The first moment I entered the IDC lobby I knew I was in a very special place and my initial reaction is confirmed every day I’m there. Everyone is so welcoming, the environment is incredibly positive and the impact the IDC programs have on our participants is heartwarming. I have been privileged to become part of the IDC family and hear firsthand stories of how IDC has helped people personally progress and achieve goals they didn’t think possible. I’ve witnessed families overcome obstacles and share interesting experiences they will be able to reflect upon for years to come. We’d love to share this special place with you! Hope to see you soon!

1 Kkarly M.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Almost nearly 12 years ago my brother Jack came and swam with the dolphins Sarah and Squirt at Island dolphin therapy. My brother has severe learning disabilities and life threatening conditions and we fundraised to to key largo from Glasgow Scotland to swim with dolphins! After the first session my brother Jack slept for the first time ever , he had a full nights sleep! He was so relaxed, and comfortable enough to get to sleep! The dolphin therapy completely changed my brothers life, we were able to communicate with Jack and be able to identify when he was happy sad or in pain. Jack enjoyed so much being in the art room and decorating the wooden dolphin that he still has to this day! I just would like to thank you all for how amazing this work is! You change people’s lives!!

Lynn Dils

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began volunteering at Island Dophin Care a little over a year ago. I have been so taken by the dedication of the organization and staff, the amazing purpose that Island Dolphin Care, the dolphins and therapists and families partake in. Quickly my volunteer day became a day of great joy, surrounded by loving families, caring and enthusiastic staff and magnificent dolphins. I truly hope that anyone visiting the Keys would be sure to make a visit to Island Dolphin Care to see first hand all the therapeutic and educational programs that are offered here in this most beautiful and peaceful setting.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Island Dolphin Care is an amazing life changing place. Everyone there was so kind, and knowledgeable. I had the privilege of going not once, but twice, with a young man I love very much, before he passed away. I will never forget watching the love between him and Squirt. God Bless this place, the dolphins, and everyone involved with IDC. Jamie Stearns

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

An amazing, whole-family healing experience, unique in the world.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Deena, the dolphins, and the whole staff at Island Dolphin Care helped me deal with the passing of my husband. I was able to have my close friends join me and the dolphins in several swims over several weeks. Each swim seemed to build on the previous one. Together, as a mammalian group, we built a safe community for me from which I was able to move forward on my own.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My story with Dolphin Care is now twelve years old. We vacationed there twice when my twins were young. They are now almost fully grown men. When they were small, it was difficult to find activities that would meet both my kids where they were--one child who was typically developing and one child restricted by physical and verbal disability.
Our two visits to Dolphin Care are now sweet memories of a childhood gone. Looking back, I wanted both kids to be engaged and have fun but more importantly I wanted my typical son to see that his life, although made more difficult because of his brother's disability, was also made richer by his brother's disability. Back then, it was his brother's condition that provided him the opportunity to swim with dolphins. Now, on the cusp of turning 18 is the realization that the disability has provided insight into the most essential truths of life. I remember learning that the dolphins go directly toward a person with disability. Maybe they already know what takes humans longer to figure out.

1 Paul K.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

An amazing place with a mission and heart to match. The staff is extraoridnary in the care they show for the dolphins and for all of the children and families who they serve.

This place is an oasis of joy and acceptance. We cant wait to go back.

1 Shanna Marino K.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Island Dolphin Care provided our son and our entire family with an untouchable experience. They made us feel like we were at home from day 1. They took the time to get to know our son with special needs and made accommodations for him. They also made our typical son feel included and like he was just as special. We look forward to returning one day and would highly recommend this experience to all!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My brother and family have been coming to the therapy program for over twenty years. Each year is just as magical as the first. Words cannot describe the love and energy that you feel as soon as you walk through the doors of IDC. The Island Dolphin Care mission, program, staff, dolphins, and all of the families have a very special place in my heart ❤️ My family and I are forever indebted to IDC.

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Island Dolphin Care is truly a one of a kind and unique place. There is both magic in the air and water. The miracles that happen there are indescribable. An absolute blessing.

Stephanie Akins B.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son Andrew has been to IDC every year for 8 years and his brother Aiden started joining in 3 years ago. This place means so much to our family and has done so much for our family. The skills that Andrew acquires each year during our time at IDC, the confidence Aiden has gained, and the relationships we have all built with the wonderful staff and the dolphins keep us coming back. It is truly our favorite week of every year and we look forward to seeing what our next experience brings. I highly recommend IDC! The experience will change you and your family for the better!

Stefanie Schild P.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This amazing facility and the people involved are a true blessing for our family. Our daughter has grown tremendously in speech, fine motor skills, core muscle strength, and most of all happiness! IDC has helped our daughter in ways we could never imagine. We are truly thankful for IDC and the amazing IDC staff, the amount of happiness, hope, and smiles they have given us are priceless!

Melanie D.3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our experience was life-changing for our entire family. We are incredibly thankful for the experiences we have had at IDC ❤️ It helped our shy, terminally ill, disabled child develop into a strong confident independent young adult. She will never drive a car, ride a two-wheeled bike or read a book with her eyes - but she graduated high school and is one of only two Nationally Certified Lifeguards who are Visually impaired in Canada. That is directly linked to her visits to Island Dolphin Care

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was an intern many years ago at IDC. Through months I followed the incredible work done by IDC therapists, and saw the importance and the difference it made for many children and their families. The experiences I gained participating in the intern program, I will take with me forever, and much of what I learned, I use in my current work with special education. I will be forever grateful for my time at IDC.

Karen L.4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My boys have been swimming at IDC for years. Every year is better then the one before. The staff takes the time to learn about each child and truly love my boys. It’s a little slice of heaven on earth. We can’t wait to see you soon !

Kristine.A

Client Served

Rating: 5

Island Dolphin Care is the most magical place on earth!!! This one of a kind therapy program is a must! It's the perfect blend of therapy and fun for the entire family. The pure happiness my child feels here, with her dolphin friends is priceless. They are so accommodating to all special abilities and truly make you feel like family.

Ania K.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wonderful place where I gained a lot of experience!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A MUST! IDC is absolutely everything their website claims it to be! It’s magical, incredible, special, and the most special place you’ll ever experience. Please consider IDC if you have a child with a disability, if you are a veteran or if you want to support this incredible place that is changing families lives every single day.

1 Janice T.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

IDC is by far my son’s favorite experience in his life. The staff is fun, caring, knowledgeable, and supportive.

Patty B.4

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a police officer (from Holland) with ptsd I was looking for a therapy which can give me something extra. I was tired of talking about my illness/problem.
Here I found a family who gave me my smile back after a year without happy feelings.
I hold on now because I know a place on earth where it is possible to feel good 'without' the ptsd. Here I am like evertbody else. The team is professional, respectful and kind to everybody. They love their dolphins also. I felt at home from the beginning and go back soon.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The pictures say more than words ever can! Our experience at IDC was beyond amazing! From the time in the classroom to the time with the dolphins, our experience with the staff, dolphins and program was incredible. I came home saying I’ve never seen Branson more in his element. He was doing things that are normally more difficult for him with a huge smile on his face and was so motivated. He loved giving the dolphins commands and still uses them when playing with dolphin toys at home. It was therapy in form of play and dolphins which he is so passionate about. As a Mom my heart was exploding from the time we walked into IDC and I had tears when we left. There isn’t a week that goes by that Branson doesn’t mention the dolphins and his time there. You know the impact was made when four months later he threw a penny in a fountain and when I asked him what he wished for he said “to see my dolphin friends.” I can’t recommend IDC enough as a place to visit or support through donation!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This place is amazing. They work with children with disabilities and our military veterans. They work with kids from the make a wish program. The story of how they got started is truly inspiring. I highly recommend paying a visit to Island Dolphin Care if you ever get the chance. And you can tell the staff really cares, and are passionate about what they do.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have to commend the team at Island Dolphin Care.
I attended a therapy session with a group of veterans from Operation Outdoor Freedomon Feb. 5, 2019. It was amazing how from the time we arrived until the end of the day, all our needs were met. The time I Spent with Sarah was one of the most tranquil times in my life, and was more than I could have ever expected. Thank You for all you do.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Great team! We felt like home! Best experience, great specialists and just wonderful people! Taylor is a very talented specialist, my son enjoyed therapy there! I absolutely recommend to all my friends and family!!! It’s a great experience, unbelievable memories and fun!!! Dolphins are adorable and very smart! Thank you for all your hard work! It’s has been a pleasure to visit your place!!!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This facility harbors some of the greatest animals and staff that Iv'e had the pleasure to work with! The therapy speaks for itself and the guests always walk away with smiling faces. Could not be happier as an employee for Island Dolphin Care!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My life is forever changed since working for Island Dolphin Care. The joy I receive from this job is indescribable! Lives are being changed here not only for the child/adult with special needs but for their family as well. My background is clinical-based occupational therapy. I have seen children make more therapeutic progress at Island Dolphin care in 5 days than many children make in months of traditional therapy. In my short 6 months of working here I have experienced a young adult saying hello to her parents for the first time ever using an eye gaze computer, a teenager with ASD learning a fun, efficient way to tie his shoes, some first words and an amazing increase in vocabulary. We provide joy to families with no hope, we provide love to families who may not have a support system, we provide motivation and self-confidence, and lastly we become a second home to all people who enter our facility. I love this place and everyone who enters our doors!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My granddaughter Sophia has epilepsy and is a make a wish kid we were fortunate enough to spend time at dolphin care I cannot say enough about the staff and the experience she had there I have never seen her so engaged and happy the staff are incredible they have a remarkable bond with the dolphins and were absolutely wonderful with Sophia it was such a magical time I hope they continue to do their good work and make a difference in people’s lives Dee Abbott

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It has been my pleasure to volunteer with Island Dolphin Care. I have had the opportunity to meet a plethora of diverse families and Veteran's groups throughout my time here. Children and adults alike express big smiles when swimming with the dolphins. It gives me so much joy to be able to experience the moment with each of them.

The classroom aspect provides a foundation of how to use the water session in the classroom. It has been exciting to see many families bond over the classroom session via various therapeutic aspects in creative methods of crafts, games, and other artwork.

I have learned more about marine life education while being here. I plan to use my knowledge to help educate my community when I return as I plan to run for my city's board to help make a difference. Island Dolphin Care has taught me about real issues we daily face in regards to the many dangers marine-life encounters and how we as individuals can work together as a team to be more aware of products we use , to help eliminate waste, and recycle and reuse more. I am so thankful for my experience at Island Dolphin Care as it has personally helped re motivate me to play a bigger role in my community.

Idc T.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was an intern at IDC for three months. Every single day was another amazing experience!
IDC is a wonderful facility dedicated to serving those in need. I am very grateful that I was able to see some very touching milestones and breakthroughs during the dolphin swims and classroom session. It was the most wonderful thing in my live to see these kids laugh and smile (sometimes even for the very first time in their lives)!
I would always do this internship again!!
Gesa (from Germany)

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Island Dolphin Care gave me the opportunity to experience a unique internship as a therapy assistance. I study Psychology so it was super interesting for me to work with different people with special needs such as autism or cerebral palsy. The team is evidently passionate about their work and is doing an amazing job. I would love to come back and volunteer for a longer time!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've had an amazing time interning with Island Dolphin Care. The staff has taught me so much about different therapies and about how the dolphins live and aid in therapeutic assistance. The dolphins are so much fun to see every day. There are always fun times to be had when coming to Island Dolphin Care between the weekly barbecues getting to know more about the families and the art activities we do with the kids, we always end up having a great time. Can't wait to come back to visit!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered for Island Dolphin Care for 6 weeks and it was an awesome experience! It was breathtaking to see the benefits of this unique therapy for every single client I worked with. The Team at Island Dolphin care is great and very thoughtful. I immediately felt welcome. You can see that the Dolphins are happy and comfortable!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the privilege to intern for Island Dolphin Care. It is a great organization made up of compassionate individuals who are professionals in fields such as special education, psychology and therapy. I got to experience first hand the therapeutic benefits animal (dolphin) therapy has on children and adults suffering disabilities and illnesses such as autism, cerebral palsy and PTSD. As an aspiring special educator and animal lover myself, this was a truly amazing experience, and motivated me to continue my studies and find ways to incorporate animal therapy into my own professional goals. I would love to come back to IDC and continue working with dolphins and special needs individuals in the future!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Island dolphin care gave me the opportunity to intern and observe a unique therapy environment. The staff is qualified, and personable. I walked away from the

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This is an incredible facility and program! The staff is dedicated to providing the best possible for both dolphins and clients! Amaziand facility where the dolphins live a life of purpose - providing Therapy to individuals, veterans and families with special needs, Mtion and research.

1 beccahill00

Client Served

Rating: 5

Where to begin! I was told about Island Dolphin Care by a upstanding and well known resident of the Florida Keys. When he found out that we had a home of adopted children that came from hard places, he immediately sent us there. I met with Deena and we became fast friends. She understood where I was coming from and wanted so desperately to help our family. We attended our first week long program in 2011 and I can't even begin to tell you the difference it made in our family. We went on to experience some additional trauma the next year, so IDC invited us back. We have been a few times and plan to return this May. We are beyond grateful and blessed to be part of the iDC family. Deena, Pete, Joe and the rest of the staff are simply amazing!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son was diagnosed with ASD at 2 1/2 yrs. He's had 4 visits and seems to be more alert after his visits. The instructors have made great breakthroughs with him and the dolphin are a joy. Thank you for being there for our kids! XOXO

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a volunteer at IDC in 2007! The experience I had was incredible because I was given the opportunity to see incredible things happen. To this day, I tell stories about the amazing changes I saw in kids, in only 1 week at IDC. What an amazing place to get away and not forget reality but face it with some extremely welcoming arms (and fins)!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

It was an amazing day for me. I suffer from a spinal cord injury from the military. That day my left leg was in excruciating pain do to my nerve damage. I was to be pushed by both dolphins one on each foot. I was hesitant not letting that happen. So when I dolphins swim around to start pushing me, I noticed that the dolphin on my left side was barely touching me and the dolphin on the right side was doing all the work. So I asked the trainer if they would do it again the same to set of dolphins came over and i had the exact same reaction. So I ask the trainer if we can get two different dolphins and tried again. When both Dolphins so I'm around it happened a third time. The put a smile on my face and made me laugh a little bit. It goes to show you the intelligence of the animal and sensing what was wrong. When one animal shows compassion to another animal it shows that we can all get along in this world. I left there that day knowing that my life would be different from that point on I do look at things differently now. The affections about the Dolphins have showed me and the affectionate with the staff has showed me at Island Dolphin care will forever be ingrained in me.

To Island Dolphin care and to the staff I thank you for what you have shown me. I am forever grateful for that day.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Island Dolphin Care is an amazing place. Many of the families that come here have never seen a dolphin or interacted with one! Their lives are changed forever after they spend time here.
It is truly amazing to see the joy and happiness that they experience here and the fact that they can forget their problems for just a little while. The staff is wonderful and most of the families come back every year, making it their annual vacation. I am very lucky to be part of such a wonderful organization and able to contribute to it's success.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am amazed by how attentive everyone is to clients, to people coming in from the general public with questions, to the volunteers. They really do care here. And beyond that, the work they do is simply awesome. I look forward to seeing more happy families doing their program.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Island Dolphin Care is the place I found after I retired. The dedication and peace that the staff and volunteers gave to the children, families, the military is what makes it magical. Thank you'

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was an intern here years ago. The staff was built up with some of the most caring and patient people you could find. The children were always so overjoyed to be there, whether in the art class or swimming with the dolphins. Animal assisted therapy is a tough road to maintain and IDC does it brilliantly.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started to volunteer with Island Dolphin Care (IDC) in March 2017 and shortly realized that this was a "dream come true" organization. It combines all my loves in one place...children, families, people, and dolphins! I am a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) from Pennsylvania and have experience working as a children and family therapist as well as recent experience with animal (dolphin) care and training. I believe in this organization and what they are accomplishing through animal (dolphin) assisted therapy to help children and adults with special needs. They also have a unique and very special veterans program that helps support our troops. Overall, it is a great place that does a lot of good for a lot of people all over the world as well as locally in the community. They are now offering tours to the public, so call to schedule a tour or stop by today to see this amazing facility!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Island Dolphin Care is by far one the best not-for-profit organizations I have had the privilege to work with. Their team is made up of many compassionate, driven people focused on the same goal: to provide an extraordinary therapeutic experience. It is a client-centered and family focused organization that provides week-long therapy programs to individuals with special needs, as well as day programs for U.S. Veterans. I have seen first hand how motivating the therapy sessions are for these individuals and how rewarding the experience is for the whole family. Island Dolphin Care is definitely a must see place in Key Largo. Please consider stopping by for a tour of the facility, and to hear the amazing story about how it all began. I also urge you to consider donating to this worthy cause. Your money will be making a world of a difference to these families.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Transformative healing experience walking around the center. You can see and feel clients healing with their interactions. You must take the opportunity to experience the magic. The dolphins are also neat, the staff great!!!!…..PLEASE HELP IDC WORK THE MAGIC…..

George50

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am so blessed to volunteer at Island Dolphin Care. I get to personally see how the classroom and Dolphin therapy affects both the special needs clients and the families/caretakers of them. I am retired US Army and seeing the Veteran programs that get our veterans in the water with the Dolphins holds a very special place in my heart. If you know someone who has a special needs family member, please refer them to Islanddolphincare.org and check out the program. If you don't know anyone but still want to help please donate so we can continue to change lives..

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a current volunteer and I have to tell you that this is a very spiritual place to me. To see how the staff interact with the children and families is amazing. I have seen children do amazing things during the therapy that they hadn't done before. I am retired US Army and the veteran program has a special place in my heart. The entire staff is amazing and I love going in and helping with programs. If you haven't donated before or even if you have please help them continue the very special work that they do.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer at Island Dolphin Care I enjoyed eight years interacting with special needs children and wounded veterans. It has been an uplifting experience for my soul to be able to contribute for this wonderful cause. It is a happy place to go, where people with special needs find comfort, joy and love.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Island Dolphin Care is an amazing place filled with wonderful people who are all striving to make the world a better place. I have seen first-hand just how meaningful this experience can be, and to see a smile on the face of a child who has been through so much is simply priceless. This is a non-profit worth donating your time and money to, and I can assure you it is all going to a wonderful place. IDC is one of the best places on earth!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Island Dolphin Care is a magical place. As soon as you walk in the door a warm feeling and relaxed atmosphere greets you along with smiling faces from staff. There is no second place like this one and I would never like to miss a single minute I got to spend there!

Client Served

Rating: 5

We love IDC! When you have a child with a disability you are always looking for something that motivates them and makes them be the best they can be. That is what happens at IDC! We love it so much we created a nonprofit to send other children there! The smiles that happen there are infectious!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

One of the best places in the world. I did an internship in 2004 and it was a great experience! The whole team does a great job. It was a wonderful time with lots of unique moments.

Biron V.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is the best place in the world for love and caring and has helped my family immensely.

Rebecca160

Client Served

Rating: 5

Nurturing and selflessly supportive, the staff and volunteers amazed me every day of my five-day Art, Dolphin and Pilates therapy. As a veteran with invisible disability issues, I not only felt unconditionally accepted, but also challenged to let myself enjoy and explore the depths of the healing programs. As often as possible, I continue to urge other veterans to seriously consider participation. Whether alone, as I did, or in a group; this unique opportunity offers the anticipation, participation and reflection that builds positive memories. Plus valuable tools, for an emotionally healthy future. Semper Fi, Rebecca Johnston. U.S. Marine, Retired

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

"Call it what you want, i call it love..."
I can still remember the warm and sunny spring day in 1988 when our Michelle was born. As time went by doctors diagonised her with Microcephalie. She won`t be able to sit or to stand without help. She will never be able to eat by her own or even talk. On a late February evening in 1996 i had some time to kill and turned on the television. The presenter even announced a documentation about dolphins and disabled children. During the whole program i had this feeling that someone was pulling my arm saying to me: "Go on. Do it."
On October 28. in the same year Michelle touched dolphin Squirt the very first time. I never heard her laugh like that before and her eyes were beautifully glowing in the sun.
After two weeks of Dolphin Therapy Michelle was like brand new. Not only her hands, her whole body was relaxed. She could hold up her head and this way it was easier for her to focus and with her hands open she could easily hold things with her fingers. And.... she was trying to stand up with my help. Michelle seemed to enjoy herself. It was very difficult to leave Key Largo and the dolphins, but we knew we will come back. We have kept the promise up to now. This fall it will be our 20. return to IDC. Dolphin Therapy is a zest for life. Seeing Michelles eyes lighten up and experience her happiness is such the greatest gift for us.
The therapy center is a magical place. Everyone who goes there finds a wide open door and is welcome wholeheartedly. The time that we spend there is such great precious family time.
This is our own personal story. It might encourage someone out there to fight for change. One thing that I know for sure is that, some of the things happen to our lives had to happen, because they happen for a reason. Some might call it destiny, others bad luck or fate or maybe "bad cards". But even with bad cards you still have a chance to play smart.
That is exactly what Deena (Director of IDC) did. We are so thankful, to have known this wonderful awesome person with the big heart. She let us, together with IDC be a part of her life story, always giving us new impulse and strength and to realize the possibilities we have in us.

Lisa527

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I heard about Island Dolphin Care years ago while working at a non-profit development center for infants and toddlers with disabilities in Seattle, so when the opportunity to help at IDC as an intern during their therapy programs came up, I was thrilled. It was an amazing experience for me, which started a wonderful relationship with them and many clients. They have an amazing, gifted staff, and awesome volunteers. Families from all over the world benefit from their program, many on scholarships. Animal assisted therapy can make a huge difference in those with challenging lives, and one of the great things about this program, as compared to other programs I have experienced, is the way they include the whole family, not just the child or adult with challenges. The dolphins are loved, and appear to love their work as much as families love interacting with them and the therapists. This is not simply feel good fluff, this is serious, valuable therapy that has improved many lives.