We are partnering with a local PADI-certified scuba dive master and instructor and we will offer introductory courses in snorkeling/scuba-diving for handicapped, visually-impaired, and at-risk youths and adults. The precise curriculum is to be determined, but the training sessions will be held in a local swimming pool, with careful hands-on supervision by expert certified dive instructors. Students will first learn to snorkel and get comfortable being under water breathing through a mouthpiece. In subsequent classes, they’ll learn the basics of scuba-diving and depending on how they progress; some students may make shallow open-water dives under close supervision of a certified dive instructor.
The goal of this program is to broaden horizons and building self-esteem. For physically handicapped people, the water can be a liberating medium. For once, they are on equal “footing” with persons who do not possess physical disabilities. Additionally, it is a means to do something as adventurous and “cool” as scuba-diving–something these kids have only seen on TV. The experience will solidify the idea that they can do amazing things after all. This program will recruit kids and adults through our contacts with local social services, other programs, and our deep, collaborative connections with the community and other non profits.