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I am a volunteer instructor with Diveheart (SDI & HSA). I've seen us mentioned in this forum a few times and thought you might want to know what's coming up and tempt some of you to become an active volunteer with us.
First, if you're in the Chicagoland area, more specifically, the southwest suburbs, you may be interested in a program we launched in Oak Lawn. The Oak Lawn Community High School and School Board have granted us access to their pool for local persons with disabilities as well as our Military Wounded program. That's a tremendous contribution and we will never be able to thank them enough.
If you're interested in seeing what Diveheart is all about, we have monthly sessions scheduled through May, 2009 at the Oak Lawn Community High School pool. You can check the events calendar at The DiveHeart Foundation - Home for details. We will be adding other sessions at other locations, so check the calendar often if Oak Lawn isn't convenient for you.
We're scheduling trips for the Military Wounded program, Oak Lawn community, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Illinois Center for Rehabilitation & Education and others for 2009. Most will be trips to Florida, but we will also be working on some Lake Michigan trips for August & September. On top of that, we'll be scheduling picnics at Haigh Quarry for disabled divers as well. At our latest picnic in September, we hosted 12 divers with disabilities and it was very well received.
With the cold months coming upon us, if you'd like to be able to get wet and use your scuba powers for the good of all mankind, all the while helping a worthy cause and possibly earning a new certification, we'd love to hear from you. Belong to a club that might want to learn more about diving with disabilities and/or possibly get involved with a discover scuba session? Contact us! We'd like to grow the number of active instructors, AIs, DMs and buddies in order to reach out to more local organizations and introduce more people to the sport we love.
If you know someone who has a disability and want them to try scuba, have them contact us and we'll try our best to accommodate them.
Finally, if you want to see periodic updates of upcoming Diveheart events, let me know and as we schedule more sessions, we'll get the dates and locations posted.
Dive Heart is doing great things for our Veteran operating out of Illinois. I am on their mailing list as well.
For us West Coast types here in Los Angeles Challenges Foundation http://www.chalengesfoundation.org is conducting SCUBA instruction with HSA instructors and Dive Buddies to Disabled Veterans of the Iraqi and Afghanistan War through the West Los Angeles VA Hospital. Challenges Foundation (with a grant from the Christopher Reeves Foundation and the support of the local community) has already completed one class and is starting another on 21 October. All instructors and HSA certified dive buddies (yours truly) are volunteers receiving no compensation. At present all plans are for local dives and to introduce these incredible men and women to the wonders of SCUBA diving. Some, due to their injuries are limited to snorkeling, or just sailiing, but that is cool we do that too.
Want to get involved? Welcome To The Challenges Foundation Website
The Oak Lawn sessions fall on Sundays because that's when the pool is least used by other local schools, park district programs, etc. It also allows us to 'double up' and hold Military Wounded discover scuba sessions immediately after we wrap up with the local community participants.
We should be posting some Monday sessions for the Illinois Center for Rehabilitation & Education in the near future (before the end of the year) and we may see some Saturday afternoon sessions with them as well. There are a couple of other organizations that have contacted us recently to schedule sessions as well as Military Wounded sessions at a location other than Oak Lawn (not to replace, but to compliment), so I hope to see more opportunities posted for them, but probably nothing new until after DEMA.
Your profile says that you're from Valpo. I know an instructor that is looking into starting a program in Richmond, Indiana. It may be quite a drive for you, but if you're interested, I can get you his contact information.
Diveheart is host an instructor/buddy training course here in Long Beach Ca on Jan 14-18, 2009. Lecture at the Aquarium of the Pacific and pool sessions at Pacific Sporting Goods, Long Beach Ca. Instructor cost $375.00, Buddy cost $200.00. The Aquarium of the Pacific is host a "Festival of Abilities" on Jan. 24-25, PLEASE come out to this very special event with Cody Unser (www.cufsf.org) giving in water dive presentations!
Have you ever wanted to help someone with a disability get into the water and develop a passion for scuba diving? Want to help change people's lives for the better? Well, here is your chance! Diveheart is hosting a media event this month on January 16th at the USC pool to help promote the Aquarium of the Pacific's "Festival of Abilities." This is a "Discover Scuba" opportunity for people with disabilities. If you would like to be a safety diver for us then please contact me at email@example.com or reply to this thread. You will be helping disabled scuba students in the water! You do NOT need an HSA rating. You will be under the direct supervision of an HSA instructor. You need to be a Rescue Diver or above; be prepared to show your c-card! You must supply all your own scuba gear. I need 10 divers!!! PLEASE join me for this very special event.