Engage Mag: COD Alumnus Jim Elliott, CEO of Diveheart

Engage Mag: Alumnus Jim Elliott, CEO of Diveheart

Magazine of the College of DuPage (COD)

From COD to CEO — Page 3
Jim Elliott’s Diveheart inspires adaptive divers to focus on abilities, not disabilities.

COD alum and Diveheart founder Jim Elliott is a breath of fresh oxygen for people with disabilities

The stereotypical college-to-career story goes like this:
Go to school.
Earn your degree in a particular field.
Go to work in that field.

But sometimes, even the most remote collegiate experience can make an unexpected impact long after the student has left the classroom.

Yes, you read that correctly: Diveheart helps people who’ve lost limbs; people who suffer from chronic pain; people with cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injuries, autism and other conditions by getting them into the water and breathing oxygen from tanks on their backs.

And yes, this is all headquartered in the flatlands of Chicagoland.

The Diveheart seed was planted when Elliott’s daughter Erin was born blind in 1980. Elliott and his

Case in point: COD alumnus Jim Elliott.

Elliott studied journalism at COD. After earning his associate degree, he earned a bachelor’s in sports writing from Northern Illinois University.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the press box. An entrepreneur since he
started caddying at Riverside Golf Club at age 12, Elliott quickly moved from sports writing to advertising sales.

He remained in the media business for two decades, working as an advertising executive for the Chicago Tribune Media Group, WGN and CLTV.

Then, despite his annual six-figure salary, he quit. Instead of selling space and time, he founded a nonprofit organization—one that has since helped thousands of people with disabilities in Illinois and around the world.

And it all started not with a journalism class—but a scuba diving class—at College of DuPage.

Elliott, now 61, is the founder of the Diveheart Foundation (www.diveheart.org). Established in Downers Grove in 2001, this non-profit 501(c)3 organization set out to “build confidence and independence and self esteem in children, adults [including military veterans] with disabilities through scuba diving.”

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X-Ray Mag: Diveheart Malaysia Making Waves and Expanding

X-Ray Mag: Diveheart Malaysia Making Waves and Expanding

Diveheart Malaysia has been making waves since the organization started regular, monthly, in-pool scuba training programs for persons with disabilities (PWD) trained by Diveheart Ambassador and funder and director of Kids Scuba Malaysia, Syed And Rahman, who worked closely with the rehabilitation unit for spinal cord injury (SCI) patients of the University of Malaya Medical Center (UMMC) in Kuala Lumpur.

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WGN-TV9: Local Veteran Brings Sea Statue to America – Finally Sees It

WGN-TV9: Local Veteran Brings Sea Statue to America – Then Finally Sees It


It’s one of the most popular underwater tourist attractions in the world, a 9 foot statue of Christ located just below the ocean in the Florida Keys.

The 400 pound bronze statue of Christ was a gift from the Italians to American divers.

But it was a Korean War veteran from Chicago who was instrumental in delivering the statue to its permanent home.

Gabriel Spataro is one of Chicago’s Very Own.


See full article and watch video on WGN-TV website

Diving for Therapy – TEDx Naperville – Jim Elliott of Diveheart

Diving for Therapy – TEDx Naperville – Jim Elliott of Diveheart

After leaving a successful career in the media industry in 1996, Jim Elliot became a full-time volunteer by founding Diveheart, a not-for-profit that helps build confidence and independence in individuals through scuba diving. Jim’s inspiration came from his daughter who was blind from birth, and developed tremendous self-confidence after learning how to downhill ski. Passionate about scuba diving since the 1970’s Jim decided to replicate his daughter’s experience, but in the forgiving weightless environment underwater which provides perfect buoyancy and balance to individuals who might otherwise struggle on land.



Seniors Going Scuba Diving with Diveheart

Seniors Going Scuba Diving with Diveheart

Schaumburg, Ill.
By Erin Ivory, WGN9

Most senior citizens will do just about anything to avoid being hooked up to an oxygen tank, but 91-year-old Velma Robinson and her friend Helen signed up for it, donning goggles, fins and a 45 lb. oxygen tank to try scuba diving for the first time.

“I just can’t see people sitting in their rooms watching TV when they can get out and enjoy life!” Velma said.

For years the friends have played water volleyball at their Friendship Village Retirement Community, but decided to go big and try scuba diving this week.

“I’m gonna wait to see the reaction of my kids! They’re afraid I’m losing it anyway,” Helen laughs.

The lessons were provided by Diveheart, a local organization that aims to get anyone who wants to dive breathing underwater, regardless of age, disability or condition.

“We’ve had people just from the first pool session, who end up taking on challenges that they never would have taken before because now they go, ‘If I could scuba dive, I could do anything,’ which is really cool”, Diveheart founder Jim Elliott said.

See full article on WGTV9 site.


Diveheart Malaysia: In the News on Bernama News Channel

Diveheart Malaysia – In the News on Bernama News Channel

Diveheart Malaysia Featured in Bernama News Channel BNC Morning Talkshow on 03 January 2018 with Riza Faisal PADI PWD Scuba Diver and Diveheart Malaysia Ambassador and PADI IDC Staff Instructor Hj. Syed Abd Rahman.



Sharecare: Meet Kerry Gruson, Retired Journalist

Sharecare: Meet Kerry Gruson, Retired Journalist

Diveheart adaptive diver Kerry Gruson.
Meet Kerry Gruson, a retired journalist for The New York Times that we had the honor of featuring in our latest episode of Sharing Care. In 1974, Kerry was nearly choked to death, leaving her without oxygen and leading to Neurological Parkinson’s Disease, a condition that would affect her for the rest of her life. However, this did not stop her from living her life to the fullest – see how she continues to show her bravery and courage through Diveheart.


Why did this veteran choose Diveheart training ?

Why did this veteran choose Diveheart training when he became an Adaptive Scuba Instructor?

Check out the upcoming issue of Sport Diver Magazine to find out why! You can do it too.Find out moreveteran