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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

62 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Rosemary C.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I always wanted to scuba dive but because I am a wheelchair user no one would teach me then one day I saw a video filmed in Illinois with Diveheart founder Jim Elliot and now Senator Tammy Duckworth. Tammy was sitting in her wheelchair with a BCD talking about adapted scuba diving. At that moment I knew somewhere somehow diving with a disability was a possibility . I called Diveheart and they helped me get certified and now I dive as often as possible. When I dive I have also discovered that I have less pain from my neuropathy! I have been so impressed with Diveheart that a friend and I started and new Diveheart Team in the Metro DC area!

1 Linda McLaughlin M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My first experience with Diveheart was at a fundraising event in November 2014 in Palm Beach. We had learned from another Diveheart Adaptive Buddy that they needed help for the Leeds Endowment event which raises funds for several charities focused on empowering people with disabilities. We drove to Palm Beach, met up with the fundraising chair and were quickly assigned to the car park tent. I was blown away by the tremendous turnout of locals on a rainy weekday night, the place was filled to capacity and the bidding for the live auction rounds was intense. I also met several people with disabilities who were Adaptive Divers, which intrigued me.

My second experience was serving as an additional diver in the water for an adaptive diver's team in July 2015. Even though I had not decided to go through the training, the team members and founder were gracious enough to teach me and my husband a lot about the dive planning for a person with disabilities. After those dives, I decided to become an Adaptive Buddy.

I went through my Adaptive Buddy training in July 2016 with the founder of Diveheart, along with 3 other students. This was handled in the mornings so that we could get more hands on experience being a part of adaptive dive teams in the afternoons. I was pushed to my limits and was amazed that I could learn so much and perform so well in 5 days of training. I decided then and there that I would step up my game and make Diveheart a big part of my retirement years.

Shortly after I was trained as an Adaptive Buddy, I received news that Diveheart had appointed a Divemaster to start up local training and events in the Tampa Bay area, where we live. We were thrilled to become a part of the team and were able to set up a couple of events for children with disabilities within a few months after our area director arrived. So far this year, we have executed 5 Diveheart Scuba Experience events for children, 2 of which happened on my wedding anniversary and my birthday! It's been such a gratifying experience that I decided to take a course in grant writing to help Diveheart obtain more funds for adaptive diving.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The first time I volunteered as an Adaptive Buddy with Diveheart, I was absolutely amazed at how the experience affected the participants and myself. To see the joy and smile on the face of someone able to be free in the water, brought tears to my eyes. It was overwhelming to say the least. This organization helps to create those experiences for people, with a caring, considerate and safe team. Keep it up Diveheart!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wow, this is just the most amazing organization!!!! I have to admit, I was scared by the prospect of being a buddy for an adaptive diver. But all it took was the excitement of the Diveheart team to make me feel a true part of the adventure. It is virtually impossible to describe the humbling experience of helping a quadriplegic become a superwoman 30 feet under the ocean. "Imagine the possibilities" is not just a catch phrase for Diveheart, it is the true spirit of this group.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering with Diveheart has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. From the volunteers to the participants the foundation is filled with incredible people who are helping each other enjoy and live life. The smiles and happy tears I've seen have made volunteering with Diveheart one of the best decisions I've made in my life and I look forward to volunteering with them for years to come.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering with Diveheart as a adaptive dive buddy for the past two years. This organization has brought so much joy and freedom to both the adaptive divers and the volunteers. I'm always looking forward to the next Diveheart event!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a Marine Vietnam Veteran, PADI Scuba Instructor and soon to be certified as an Advanced Adaptive Dive Buddy Instructor for Diveheart! While in South Florida and the Keys, I have had the privilege of assisting Wilhelmina Stanton, Florida Team Leader, Diveheart and her incredible team of volunteers teaching our Wounded Warriors and adaptive divers to enjoy the experiences of "zero gravity" as they fly in pools and open waters.

These heartfelt experiences create an incredible win-win paradigm (big word for this Jarhead) for the DH team and dive operators, the adaptive divers and their families. I believe they truly heal, are deeply engaging and build confidence and courage.

I look forward to continuing to volunteer with this incredible nonprofit. Thank you for the opportunity to "continue to serve!"

Semper Fidelis,

David DeChant
PADI OWSI #319693

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer "Advanced Adaptive Diver Buddy" for Diveheart.org I have recently begun to experienced first hand the enjoyment, excitement and fulfillment shown by adaptive diver participants.
This can be seen in their local pool Diveheart Scuba Events as well as when they partner with wonderful dive operators like Rainbow Reef Diving in Key Largo.
The weightless zero gravity world of scuba diving in the pool or ocean is a special experience for anyone, but for the adaptive diver, often gives a new sometimes life changing level of freedom and confidence not felt from any previous activity in their life.
It is truly inspiring to see adaptive divers in action, and their sense of excitement from being given this opportunity to "spread their wings' and fly through the underwater world, unfettered by gravity on land.
Two Thumbs Up to Diveheart and their founder/leader Jim Elliott.
Rob Waterfield, Miami Lakes, FL

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As the newest diveheart instructor, this was my first experience diving with fully adaptive divers and adaptive dive buddies. What an amazing group of people both the divers and the Buddies. The organisation was Top Notch with Rainbow Reef Dive Center supplying a boat and Incredible Crew. I look forward to many such Adventures with many such people.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Jim Elliott and Diveheart do amazing work. I have worked with Jim behind the scenes on a volunteer basis, and I have known Jim personally for over 35 years. Diveheart makes a powerful, positive difference in so many lives. Please support them in their mission.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have personally had the pleasure of being a volunteer for Diveheart. The experience is incredible and life changing.

This organization is ran by a fantastic group of people that continues to set the standard for adaptive diving.

I highly encourage anyone to be apart of Diveheart in any way possible!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Diveheart is just a wonderful organization staffed by wonderful caring people. I first noticed an article in the paper, and decided to check out the organization. I was blown away first by the founder and president Jim. I spoke with him for awhile on the phone and decided to pursue it further. I am so glad I did. What I have come to find is a caring, well run, amazing resource for almost any challenged person. From the first event I attended as deck help, until the most current event where I am now an adaptive dive buddy, I continue to be blown away by the organization. The people we serve love the events. One must just come out to an event and witness it for oneself to truly appreciate what Diveheart is and can do.

jerry patt adaptive dive buddy

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Diveheart is the greatest organization I have been associated with over the years. Jim and his staff have opened the doors to people that may have been in the past closed. From instructor to participant the opportunity for new adventures is around the corner. I have been involved for the past five years and has changed my life. The word NO is not in the vocabulary for diveheart. The answer is what I can I do next to improve in skills and enjoy diving. There are always tears of joy and many smiles on every trip. There are no limitations to set a new goal or to dream a new dream. Lt. Michael P. Burroughs Retired , Advanced Adaptive Dive Buddy

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Diveheart is incredible. Jim's ability to create memorable experiences to anyone he meets. He has a long term vision for the growth of Diveheart

2 Connie75

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Diveheart gets five stars as a charity. The organization is volunteer driven in its mission to provide people around the world with disabilities with therapeutic, life-changing scuba experiences. Even the president and CEO is a volunteer! To see their remarkable story and results, go to www.diveheart.org.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What a fantastic organization. As an avid scuba diver it is wonderful to see an organization that can bring the same passion and excitement about this great sport to those who would never have been able to. It is my honor and privilege to help whenever I can

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It's lovely to see and participate in an org that helps people who otherwise would never think of scuba diving!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After several years of being a diver and dive instructor, I had the opportunity to meet Jim, train with, and join Diveheart on a trip to Cozumel in 2013. I cannot sufficiently express the extent of how refreshing, and inspiring the experience was for me. The most impressive point for me is one of the most basic fundamentals of Diveheart. That point is to simply redirect attention and emphasis that individuals, participants, and families hear every day, about the limitations or measures of disability, and instead encouraging the functional, recreational, and adventurous sides of peoples lives. The simple shift of perspective is what truly distinguishes Diveheart.

Roger41

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Ive known Diveheart and its founder from the beginnings. Jim and i did our PADI instructor training together.
I ran into Jim Year or two later at his Diveheart booth at Our World Underwater. It as exciting learning what he was doing and decided to join the team and started my HSA instructor training.
Ive helped at pool sessions, at the lake picnics and volunteered on a trip to the keys
The joy that ive seen in the individuales participating in this program is difficult to describe and is incredibly heart warming.
To see these people experiencing such joy is incredible.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I first volunteered for this great organization down in South Florida i was hooked. It is such an awesome feeling seeing the sparkle in someone face when they never thought that they would be able to achieve such activity. I unfortunately had to leave the Southern Florida area and am now in the Louisiana Gulf Coast area and we are working on bringing DiveHeart to the area. Everyone in the organization is so friendly and super helpful.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My daughter and I spent multiple days becoming a certified Buddy Diver . DiveHeart is a wonderful organization with a founder and executive director who couldn't be more altruistic. We've supported them financially knowing that our donations have been well spent for people with disabilities. We thank Jim Elliott for all the wonderful work he does. His whole heart is involved in this fabulous operation.