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Naperville
Thursday, May 23, 2024

Diveheart: Stories from the Heart – Moving beyond Naperville’s high school pools

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For years Diveheart has been collaborating with several high schools that serve students in Indian Prairie School District, conducting programs at Waubonsie, Metea and Neuqua high schools.

Always there to work on our mission by building confidence and independence in children, adults and veterans with disabilities through the sport of scuba diving, we’ve been grateful for the pool time. 

Diveheart instructors would come to the school early in the morning and arrange all the scuba gear for students who were in the special needs and best buddy gym classes. Then, class by class the Diveheart instructors and dive buddies would work with the students in the pool.

We would start in the shallow pool and if the students were proficient in the scuba skills, then we would rotate the students into the deeper pool, giving them the experience of a real “astronaut moment.” An astronaut moment is when a diver achieves neutral buoyancy by just using their breath to control where they float in the water column.

These local pool experiences helped us realize that we needed to develop a permanent pool facility for Diveheart; not only to get new students in the water but to replicate some of the benefits that we’ve seen in deeper openwater environments.

Since 2001 we’ve seen deep dives contribute to chronic pain relief, and the alleviation of PTSD symptoms, not to mention the benefits for individuals with autism or other abilities. It’s taken years to develop the plans, but now Diveheart has three patents on a deep pool design that will be the world’s first.

With land donations and pro-bono architectural, engineering, legalities and business planning services in place, we’ve just revealed the designs to the world.

In February, we launched a fundraising campaign with the hope of raising millions of dollars for the multi pool facility that would showcase the deepest warm water therapy pool on the planet.

I hope you’ll check out Diveheart.org for information on this amazing project that will revolutionize rehabilitation and more.

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Jim Elliott
Jim Elliotthttp://www.diveheart.org
Jim Elliott left a successful career in the media business with the Tribune company to start the Downers Grove-based nonprofit Diveheart in 2001 to help individuals with disabilities through adaptive scuba and scuba therapy. For more info, visit www.diveheart.org.
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