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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

LIFEWATERS

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Military & Veterans Organizations, Sports, Swimming & Other Water Recreation, Veterans

Mission: LifeWaters is a 501 (c)(3) organization which promotes independence, inclusion, adventure, and healing for Veterans and Civilians with mobility impairments by providing camaraderie, training, and certification in adaptive scuba diving for divers and dive partners. LifeWaters Adaptive Scuba program is designed to help improve the lives of our paralyzed and disabled Veterans by offering discover scuba and scuba certifications through Scuba Diving International (SDI) (Scubility Program) as part of recreational water therapy. The program is run by dedicated staff volunteers to include SCI therapists, doctors, nurses, veterans and civilians who are passionate about helping our Veterans in the sport of diving.

Target demographics: Mobility impaired vets and civilians including Spinal cord Injuries, Amputees, PTSD, MS and ALS

Direct beneficiaries per year: Over 38 new divers experience scuba

Geographic areas served: St. Louis drawing from a 5 state region and with an affiliate in Arizona

Programs: Learning to scuba dive through training in a pool, then open water dives for certification through Scuba Diving International Scubility program.

Community Stories

24 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Stephen S G.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The staff and volunteers of lifewaters are truly amazing people. They give their time to help Disabled Veterans to go scuba diving. When they goto International diving trips with the veterans, they become our buddy divers. Two volunteers with every diver who is Disabled, so even though they are diving with us. They are there to make sure we have a wonderful time and sometime that means they do not get to totally enjoy their dive.

Blake T.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A wonderful non profit that has a creative way of showing veterans a whole new world.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Great addition to the diving community! Genuine people working to make a difference.

Larry W.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A great organization that helps our veterans, able or with challenges. They help them by scuba diving which help the veteran out more than I can explain here. They help me get certified in scuba to help with under water activities.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I thought I was afraid of the Ocean, had been my whole life. Until my friend Hack who was paralyzed from his waist down and in a wheel chair started posting on social media about a group called LifeWaters. The group trained Veterans and Civilians to dive, regardless of their degree of physical disability. I watched from afar as he posted photos and videos of amazing dives around the world and also at some of the countries most well known aquariums.

I was impressed and intrigued. My husband had scuba dived before and I thought it would be fantastic if I could too...except for that fear of the Ocean, right?

I decided if they could do it, maybe I could too...and there was no way for me to know unless I tried. I decided I wanted to be a dive buddy to my good friend Hack and I was going to get dive certified. One brave step lead to a pool, quarry and so on. Until I found myself in Cozumel learning to be a dive buddy to some of the most fantastic, brave, patriotic people I could ever want to meet. I cannot describe the joy and honor my husband and I get from helping support the disabled divers.

Charlie, the founder of LifeWaters and his wife Jodi are selfless, tireless dynamos who constantly do for others enjoyment and life enrichment. The entire Board of Directors for LifeWaters are amazing, caring, down to earth folks and would literally do anything to bring an injured person back to reality and have them realizing they have so much life left, and can truly be leading by example to others who have not found their way back yet.

Roger Doc L.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is probably one of the best organizations that provides Veterans a place of camaraderie and a great outlet for stress relief and actually helpful for PTSD symptoms. Learning to dive and being able to swim the the peace and tranquility has been a huge help to me as a Veteran.

Mike M.11

Client Served

Rating: 4

A great organization helping vets get out to learn and enjoy life again. They always have the veteran's health and safety in mind. They adapt the outing to the needs and limitations of the vetran. They truly remember that veterans with disabilities are people too and always supporting the veterans who their time and health to serve America and it's citizens. Thank you Lifewaters!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

great organization! we need more of this . I am a Divemaster and want everyone to be able to enjoy this sport.

Rick R.4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm a 54 year old Paralyzed Veteran.
35 years ago, I was an avid scuba diver when I was in the Navy stationed in Guam.
When I became paralyzed at age 48, I thought that most of my activities were over, or atleast severely hampered.
Lifewaters.org proved me wrong. In November 2017, I was given the opportunity to Scuba dive once again, this time in the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. Not just with the divers, but with the Whale Sharks. "Diving with the Gentle Giants"
They are a life changing organization. THANK YOU LIFEWATERS.ORG !!

Connie J.4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Lifewaters is a Veteran friendly, non-profit with the mission of helping others. It’s impossoble not to love their goals and dedication to those who’ve served our great nation.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A great charity that helps those with accessibility challenges gain some freedom back by teaching them to scuba dive. The benefits of diving go far beyond the freedom, many of the divers experience a reduction in pain while diving and shortly after. They bring fun and enthusiasm to all they do.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started 6 years ago by chance helping LIFEWATERS In Cozumel. Since then me my husband and children have volunteered every year. When you train or volunteer with LIFEWATERS you gain a new world of scuba diving. You are embraced with another family and a shared respect of paying forward to others.

Tyler9

Client Served

Rating: 5

The LifeWaters’ crew, is incredible! Tuna helped save my life, a couple years ago, and started my scuba training, at my last annual evaluation, at the STL VA. So nice, to have something so amazing, to look forward to!

Hackapva

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a parlyzed Marine Corps Veteran, a T6 paraplegic for over 25 years. Lifewaters taught me to scuba dive 5 years ago and I now have over 130 open water dives! Its amazing getting free from the chair and diving. Thank you!

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a paralyzed Marine and this organization has helped make me an advanced open water diver with more than 100 dives in 6 years. Thank you Lifewaters for changing my life!

Hack Albertson

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

We value the positive therapeutic outcomes that this VSO provides for our disabled veterans. Thank you LWs for all you do for our disabled veterans and family members.

Charley Tuna W.

Donor

Rating: 5

What a great way to get people together to share the love of the water. Thank you LifeWaters

Board Member

Rating: 5

I was introduced to LifeWaters over 4 years ago. A disabled veteran myself, I thought I would never dive again. It was LifeWaters and the recipients that made me realize there are now excuses if you have the will. Thank you Hak, Jessie, Jamie, Rose,Victor, Scotty, Bobby, Joey and all the others I had the opportunity to work with. Also a big thanks to Charlie, Jody and Matt who trained and mentored me on this adventure. God Bless.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the honor of being a part of the Atlanta Aquarium dive in March. What a wonderful organization with quality caring people. Families and divers alike shared in the excitement and comaradie of the adventure of the weekend together. Seeing the joy on the divers' faces as they played in the water is heartwarming and joyous.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I discovered LifeWaters last spring by pure accident and volunteered to attend their Atlanta Aquarium Dive in March. That trip changed my life forever. I have NEVER met such an amazing organization with such awesome caring, loving people. To see adaptive divers faces after coming up from a dive is priceless. Matt, Charley, Jessi, Hack, Howard, Victor, and Team LifeWaters is absolutely amazing. They literally change people's lives for the better daily. God Bless these amazing people and LifeWaters!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Being apart of lifewaters has been absolutely rewarding! To see both able bodied and disabled divers experiencing the amazing world underwater is amazing.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the privilege of diving with the Lifewaters group in the Cayman Islands and wow, what a fantastic experience. This organization opens up the world of scuba diving to those who may not thought it possible. Being able to support the adaptive divers so they had the best experience possible was very rewarding. I am honored and humbled to dive with Lifewaters.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful nonprofit organization providing SDI scuba diving training to both the disabled divers and their buddies so that they can participate in one of the sponsored dive trips through this group. I've had the opportunity to assist with training their Dive Masters and Dive Instructors as well as participate in the 2015 and 2016 trips to Cozumel. Awesome experience for both the buddies and the divers that participated! Anyone who is disabled, especially Vets who are spinal cord injured, this is the group for you! Please contact them.

Jessi H.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Peaceful, serene, other worldy. You know, all those cliché terms people throw around. They are all true and yet do not begin to describe the experience I had SCUBA diving. Over the last few years I have had the great privilege to become part of the Lifewaters family. Trained by and then finally christened on my first ocean dive during the summer of 2013. Yes, I said family. It is a group of individuals from all over the country and yet it feels like family. All abilities, all backgrounds, all ages.

Most people would look at Lifewaters and think, “They are doing something great, something amazing, helping people learn adaptive diving. Giving people that freedom in the water.” Yes, that is very true and very important. I get it, I’m an adaptive diver and being 60 feet under swimming along with the sea turtles and fish, f-r-e-e-d-o-m. However, to me that is not the greatest gift Lifewaters is giving. If you sit back and watch during an ocean dive, you see a group of people who probably just met working as a team. Learning about each other’s abilities and weaknesses and letting community and the ocean heal whatever is burdening them. They may not recognize it right away, but it is happening. That is such an amazing thing. Even more amazing is to watch that phenomena happening between a group of Veterans. Veterans from different branches, different eras, and of different abilities. As the wife of a USAF Veteran I was touched to see that bond surface and to see how during the dive and since the dive those Veterans have inspired, encouraged, and challenged my husband. Even if we were never given the chance to dive with those individuals again I truly believe we would continue to remain friends, to share life together.

Diving is so much more than being blown away by the majesty of the underwater world. It’s about bonds, friendship, teamwork. It’s about remembering that we need each other and can be healed by nature and by the community of people around us.

This is the gift that Lifewaters gives.