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Island Dolphin Care

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Health, Rehabilitative Care

Mission: TO PROVIDE UNIQUE, THERAPEUTIC AND EDUCATIONAL DOLPHIN ASSISTED THERAPY PROGRAMS, FOR SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN, ADULTS AND FAMILIES.

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

47 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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!

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

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)

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

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.