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Diveheart Foundation

Diveheart Foundation and WIU members Jim Elliott loves scuba diving; and since 2001 he has earned a modest living teaching scuba diving in his spare time. The rest of his time is spent running the Diveheart Foundation, the national non-profit organization chartered in Illinois, which he founded in early 2001 and for which he serves as president.

His former life as an advertising executive with the Tribune Company has helped Elliott raise funds and advance the non-profit organization's outreach.

Diveheart Foundation Demonstration Elliot's daughter, who is legally blind, was the inspiration for Diveheart, although it took about a dozen years for him to conceptualize how he could put into action what was in his heart. He could use scuba to help build self-esteem and confidence in people with disabilities.

The impetus came in 1989 when his daughter skied for the first time. "She glowed with confidence," he said in a March 1, 2010 CNNMoney.com feature.

Diveheart's website states that its purpose is to provide and support educational scuba diving and snorkeling experience programs that are open to any child, adult or veteran with a disability with the hope of providing both physical and psychological therapeutic value to that person. Thanks to the wonder of the water column, the oceans and lakes of the world become the forgiving weightless environment of outer space, giving perfect buoyancy to a child or adult who would otherwise struggle on land. (www.diveheart.org).

Scuba Diving Demonstration Elliott says it is the organization's goal to bring the disabled dive industry up to the level of the disabled ski industry by 2020.
Individuals who would like to request accommodations to fully participate in these events should contact WIU Disability Resource Center, (309) 298-2512.

Diveheart presentations were co-sponsored by Western's Student Therapeutic Recreation Society and the SCUBA Club. The groups hope to generate enough interest in accessible scuba diving to offer a "buddy" diving certificate during the 2011 Spring Semester, said Rachel Smith, a recreation, park and tourism administration instructor.

Jim Elliott loves scuba diving; and since 2001 he has earned a modest living teaching scuba diving in his spare time. The rest of his time is spent running the Diveheart Foundation, the national non-profit organization chartered in Illinois, which he founded in early 2001 and for which he serves as president.

His former life as an advertising executive with the Tribune Company has helped Elliott raise funds and advance the non-profit organization's outreach.

Diveheart scuba demonstration Elliott visited Western Illinois University on Wednesday, Oct. 13 and gave afternoon presentations about adaptive scuba and about teaching people with disabilities. He showed how adaptive scuba works with a live demonstration in the Brophy Hall pool. All sessions were free and open to the University and interested community members.

 

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  Visual Production Center