WLS-AM 890: Making Face Masks with Ruthanne Aves (Listen)

WLS-AM 890: Making Face Masks with Ruthanne Aves

The Jen Weigel Show
WLS-AM 890 Chicago

Diveheart volunteer, Ruthanne Aves, talks with Jen Weigel about making homemade masks for people who are visiting patients at the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab in Chicago!

News-Line: Diveheart’s Scuba Therapy Provides Many Benefits To People With Disabilities

News-Line: Diveheart’s Scuba Therapy Provides Many Benefits To People With Disabilities

News-Line.com (April 2020)

Since 2001 Diveheart, a volunteer driven 501 (c)(3) not for profit organization based in Downers Grove, Illinois has been helping children, veterans and others with disabilities through zero gravity underwater.

Diveheart’s adaptive scuba program uses the weightless wonder of the water column to help those with physical as well as cognitive disabilities. Impressed by the nonprofit’s works, university medical centers around the country are working with Diveheart on scuba therapy research.

Early indications and anecdotal observations have shown that individuals with physical disabilities have benefited from having extended range of motion to increased latter integrity and pain relief while underwater. These benefits can last in some cases for days or weeks after their dives. Research from John Hopkins also indicates that 80% of PTSD symptoms can be alleviated during diving, if the individual can go to three atmospheres or 66 feet underwater.

In the case of autism, Diveheart participants with autism spectrum disorder were able to participate in the world’s first research on autism and scuba therapy. underwater, surface distractions and traditional triggers were eliminated while the ambient increase in pressure underwater was soothing, much like a weighted blanket or pressure vest.

The underwater environment also substituted for what many with autism experience in a sensory deprivation room.

Anecdotally, Diveheart instructors and staff have seen these benefits for years, but were reassured by many subsequent university medical center findings.

And Diveheart has found that individuals of all abilities can benefit from increase in confidence, independence and self-esteem that they gain after participating in the nonprofit’s scuba experience program or life changing scuba adventure trips.

Plus, the cool factor that comes with a Diveheart scuba experience is off the charts. After working with Diveheart, children, veterans and others with disabilities no longer self-identify as people with disabilities, but rather as scuba divers. This newfound confidence helps them focus on what they can do instead of what they can’t do. many participants take on other challenges in their lives that they might not have even thought of before.

In addition to continuing to grow adaptive scuba experiences, training and trips around the world, Diveheart has many future goals. One is to increase the volume of scuba therapy research with university medical centers and others around the world.

Specifically, a short-term goal is to work with physical, occupational therapists and rehabilitation doctors to develop an underwater therapy program that brings much of what therapists do with patients at the surface to an underwater environment in swimming pools.

Another important goal to build a deep warm water therapy pool so that the benefits of scuba therapy and scuba therapy research seen in open water environments can be replicated in a warm, confined deep water environment.

Diveheart is looking for partners in the medical and therapeutic fields to help achieve these and other goals in the area of scuba therapy.

Read original article at News-Line website.

Download a PDF file of this article.

NBC-5 Chicago: Diveheart Woman Uses Creativity to Make Masks

Woman Uses Creativity, Perseverance to Help Make Masks Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

NBC-5 Chicago

A local woman wanted to make a difference for her community during the COVID-19 pandemic, and thanks to her perseverance and creativity she was able to do exactly that. NBC 5’s LeeAnn Trotter shares her story.

Navy Veteran Jesse Kolek Finds Way: A Life with Diveheart Family Post 9/11

Navy Veteran Jesse Kolek Finds Way: A Life with Diveheart Family Post 9/11

By Wendy Foster
Hinsdale Magazine, May 2020

Diveheart helped Navy veteran Jesse Kolek find his way. Diveheart, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, provides scuba diving instruction and opportunities for children and adults with disabilities and wounded veterans. Diveheart’s office is located in Downers Grove, and the organization has chapters around the world.

Following the events of 9-11-01, Jesse enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where he served as a diver. “My primary duties included experimental, salvage, husbandry, and rescue diving,” he said. Jesse was honorably discharged in 2011 due to a service-related disability, and he subsequently struggled to figure out his future. “Diving was all I knew and cared about,” he said. “I attempted attending community college but had difficulty focusing and struggled in class. My main desire was to somehow get back into the Navy as a diver. It took a while to realize that wasn’t going to happen.”

It was through his involvement with an employment program at the local Hines VA Hospital that Jesse connected with Diveheart. In helping identify meaningful civilian employment, Eric Kulesza, the job coach with whom he worked, listened carefully to Jesse’s interest and skills. Familiar with Diveheart, Eric approached the organization, sharing Jesse’s experience in the Navy, and inquiring about possible employment. “Founder/president Jim Elliott, and executive director Tinamarie Hernandez were receptive to the VA program and carved out a role to help me be part of Diveheart’s mission of helping individuals with disabilities through scuba diving. Although I am not performing the same duties as I was in the Navy, I still find meaning being involved in diving.”

Jesse began with Diveheart volunteering as an office assistant. He switched to managing equipment and operations, something, he said, he was more “interested and proficient in.” The next year, Diveheart secured funding enabling them to hire him part-time. “My duties consist of organizing and maintaining inventory in the gear locker, which is Diveheart’s storage facility. I prepare and stage the equipment for upcoming dive events,” Jesse said. “I’m also welcome to participate in local weekend dive events.”

Jesse said that working at Diveheart has been good for his mental health. “Other areas of my life have also seemingly improved since I’ve been there. For example, I now have two beautiful girls and own a home in Bolingbrook with my girlfriend, Heather.”

“Jim and Tinamarie have been very understanding of my needs and abilities. They are flexible whenever I have medical appointments or parenting responsibilities, and overall are extremely supportive. I am so glad Diveheart is continuing to expand and benefit more and more people.”

Read full article at Hinsdale Magazine

Download PDF file of this article

Power of Partnership: Diveheart in Depth

Power of Partnership: Diveheart in Depth

Downers Grove Magazine, March 2020

“We’re always so proud of and excited about the support that we receive in very different ways from area businesses,” said Jim Elliott, founder and president of Diveheart in Downers Grove. “Case in point is local automobile dealership owner Bill Kay. For more than 20 years, Bill’s generosity and expertise have helped Diveheart achieve our mission.”

A non-profit organization, Diveheart provides scuba diving instruction and opportunities for children and adults with disabilities and wounded veterans. Diveheart’s office is located in Downers Grove, and the organization has chapters around the world. Diveheart’s participants include individuals with almost any level of cognitive, physical or emotional disability.

Bill Kay, a Naperville resident, owns area Chevrolet, Honda, Nissan, Buick, GMC and Ford dealerships. Kay first learned about Diveheart in 1999.


“I was planning a trip to Hawaii for the new millennium and wanted to get certified for scuba diving,” he said. “My cousin recommended Jim, who is an outstanding scuba instructor. Jim worked with me, and I was certified in time for my trip.

Elliott subsequently helped Kay to become a certified rescue diver.

Kay said that from the start, he has been impressed by Elliott’s passion.

“I can’t say enough good things about Jim and his dedication to Diveheart,” he said. “Running the organization as a full-time volunteer, he sacrifices so much to help people with disabilities experience something that they otherwise would not be able to do. I started by donating a vehicle to Diveheart many years ago. My family’s foundation has also made financial contributions to Diveheart throughout the years.”

Kay’s generosity extends to him sharing his expertise.

“I guess I’m the go-to guy that keeps Jim on the road,” he said. “Jim does a tremendous amount of traveling, supporting the Diveheart cause. I make sure his vehicles are maintained, and on occasion, I will arrange the sale of a donated vehicle for him. I also am on the board of directors of the Angelfish Foundation, which supports Diveheart.

“Reliable transportation is so important to our ability to provide our services,” Elliott said. “Bill’s generosity is essential to that. We are grateful to him for everything he does for our organization.”

Read the complete Downers Grove Magazine article

Ocean Reef Works Together with Diveheart Organization

Ocean Reef Works Together with Diveheart Organization

By Ocean Reef / Dive News Wire
17 March 2020

“I can do adventure”. Ocean Reef for Diveheart.

Several years ago, Ocean Reef started an amazing and emotionally intense partnership with Diveheart, a nonprofit organization with a unique and inspiring goal: improve confidence and independence in children, adults, and veterans with disabilities through scuba experience.


Ocean Reef’s vision begins with the phrase: “we were all born from the sea” and it shares the same Diveheart values: “We’ve discovered the forgiving, weightless wonder of the water column provides the perfect gravity-free environment for those who might otherwise struggle on land. “Underwater, we’re all equal”.

Amber’s Story
Amber has been a sport lover since she was a child. During training to become a water ski national champion, she injured her spinal cord, drastically changing her life at the very young age of 19.

Her inner strength and immense passion for life, pushed Amber to find a sport that could get her in the water again: scuba diving was the answer.

Ocean Reef is delighted and honored to contribute in a very small way with its IDMs (full face masks) helping, heroes like Amber, enjoy freedom in the underwater world and supporting the selfless volunteers of Diveheart in their amazing work of making this magic happen.

Read the article on Dive News Wire website.

Glancer Magazine: Underwater We Are All Equal

Underwater We Are All Equal

by Kristen Kucharski
GlancerMagazine.com (Mom’s Little Black Book), January 2020

If you know me well, you know I love a variety of activities, including personal support and respite care on the weekends; as well as hosting Special Survivor Games for Indian Prairie School District’s students with multi-needs.

One of my greatest adventures is hanging out with a young lady that is always up for my next big idea! She shares my spirit of wanting to discover new things and I love her determination and willingness to explore the unknown. We have been kayaking in Wheaton, stand-up paddle boarding in Naperville, hiking in Lemont, and anchored bullseyes with a cross-bow in Montgomery. We have a long list of local adventures to try; and of course, a couple of bucket list items, like meeting The Rock – the one and only Dwayne Johnson, the master of thrill, fun, and excitement!

While making this list, she added scuba diving; so, the search began for local options for beginners. We discovered Diveheart in Downers Grove. Diveheart works with individuals who have a variety of disabilities, including physical and developmental disabilities, vision and hearing impairments, amputations, traumatic brain injuries, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and more. Diveheart seeks to help its participants “Imagine the Possibilities” in their lives.

She is all about not only imagining the possibilities, but making those a reality, which I absolutely love! Registering for scuba diving was easy and FREE! Yes Free! Our first class was at the YMCA in Elgin and our next at Oak Lawn High School. As with all the activities we do, she was a natural. The volunteers at Diveheart provided guidance and support and she dove in hook, line, and sinker! No pun intended! Each month she achieves a new skill with her eye set on seeking certification.

Watching the volunteers work with the individuals of varying abilities is an amazing experience. Watching my young friend live a life of no boundaries in priceless!

Read the complete Glancer Magazine article

About the Writer
Naperville mom Kristen Kucharski graduated from Illinois State University in 1992 with an International Business Degree. She has two energetic daughters and her house is always full of children. Kristen’s column titled, Mom’s Little Black Book, is a monthly feature written for moms who are looking for ways to keep their kids busy.

Win A Trip for Two in Fiji – Garden Island Resort

Fiji is Calling You!

5 day dive trip for two benefits divers with disabilities Support Diveheart and Support People With Disabilities
I want to buy a ticket and win!

DIVEHEART.NETWORKFORGOOD.COM
Win A Trip for Two in Fiji – Garden Island Resort
5 day dive trip for two benefits divers with disabilities Support Diveheart and Support People With Disabilities.

diveheart-garden-island-resort-fiji-2020