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Meet Jim Elliott of Diveheart

Voyage LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jim Elliott.

jim elliott

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
The Diveheart vision was inspired by Jim Elliott’s blind daughter in the mid-1980s. Elliott, founder and president of Diveheart, witnessed how downhill skiing changed his daughter’s life and inspired his friends without disabilities to take on new challenges in their lives.

As a diver since 1976, Elliott realized that scuba diving was the only physical activity that could provide a “gravity-free” environment while offering an exciting and adventurous experience for those with physical and cognitive disabilities. He knew that the confidence and independence his daughter developed through skiing could be replicated many times over with children, adults and veterans of all abilities through scuba diving.

Elliott began teaching adaptive scuba in 1997 and incorporated Diveheart as a volunteer, not-for-profit organization in 2001. Jim, through Diveheart, has lead the way in helping to pioneer adaptive scuba training, research, rehabilitation, education and promotion around the world. In addition to his work in almost two hundred cities throughout the U.S., this also has included working in China, Australia, Israel, the UK, and throughout the Caribbean and South-East Asia.

Throughout its existence, Diveheart has developed adaptive scuba programs for such organizations as the Shiners Hospital for Children, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Hines Veterans Hospital and many other organizations around the United States and the world. Appreciating the need to update and improve upon adaptive scuba training programs and to share the best training practices in use, Diveheart became an adaptive scuba training agency in 2014 and has developed proprietary standards for instructors and qualified divers interested in adaptive diving.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
As a volunteer, not-for-profit organization, we face the challenging task of keeping all of our volunteers engaged and active, regardless of their location, role and level of ability. We also endeavor to grow that all-important base, allowing us to maintain the safety standards we’ve set for providing the life-changing scuba experience to a growing number of adaptive divers. Fundraising is a continuing challenge – we rely on the generosity of donors for use of facilities, scuba gear, training trips to warm-water locations for adaptive dive students.

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