They always say “Follow Your Dreams” and however difficult that road may be, anything is possible. Jim Elliott and his team of angels have been performing miracles for many years. With an intense passion for diving and the desire to teach those with disabilities how to truly realize accomplishment, Jim Elliott founded this not for profit organization in 2001. The main focus is to build confidence and independence in children, adults and veterans with disabilities through the sport of scuba diving. Elliott is well qualified, having certification as a PADI instructor, an H.S.A. (Handicapped Scuba Association) and SDI Instructor of Trainer certification. He is founder and President of the Diveheart Foundation and the Angelfish Foundation. In 2005, the Illinois Skin & Scuba Council honored Elliott and Diveheart, awarding him with the Humanitarian of the Year Award and Diveheart received a 2005, 2006, 2007 Community Award from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.
The not for profit volunteer organization has gone global with their good deeds, spreading love and scuba diving to disabled individuals of all ages.
With a fervor to help others, Diveheart Foundation has set far-reaching goals. Veterans who have served their country in the armed forces and have come home disabled, children born with disabilities challenging them every day of their life, are perfect candidates to live the dream of water weightlessness. Diveheart continues to provide assistance as its volunteers provide new Diveheart facilitated programs on the ground and the support before, during and after their training. Included in the program is a free consulting with any and all local community and business partners encompassing service organizations, media, veterans groups and the medical community. As a means of spreading the news on a global level, Diveheart Foundation attends dive industry trade shows throughout the year to educate and inform.
It all begins in a pool. Local diving events take place on a monthly basis in various cities within the nation to introduce these diving candidates to the water, outfitting them in scuba gear to get their first taste of the sport and feel the full experience. There is nothing more rewarding and satisfying than to see the huge smiles on the faces of not only the students themselves but the parents as well who couldn’t even imagine the possibilities. It is absolutely incredible to witness those with a fear of the water become totally transformed by the full face mask and the scuba tank in addition to the patience and guidance of volunteer instructors. Almost every time an event come to a close, these beginner divers are eager to return and perfect their scuba skills, ultimately leading up to the big moment when they take to the ocean to really enjoy the sport and that feeling of weightlessness. The dreams become reality, all due to donations of scuba equipment, time and money. Throughout the year there are dive trips to orient these disabled divers with the water on a constant basis with dive destinations such as Grand Cayman and the Florida Keys. Fundraisers also take place every so often and now there is even a children’s book called Scubability , available through the website, about a young girl who breaks free from the chains that bind her to the Earth. She finds freedom through diving. All proceeds from the sale of this book go to fund the Diveheart Foundation efforts.
There is nothing easier and more fulfilling than spreading the word and bringing happiness to those bound by their disabilities. Scuba diving takes on a totally new meaning and anybody with the gift of giving and love of water can be a part of the dream. As the Diveheart Foundation boasts and lives by, “Imagine the Possibilities.”