DiveHeart DC & Fearless Kids
Each child finds a way to make scuba work for them. The thrill of the gravity-free environment gives these kids something they don't get on land- that's freedom of movement.
Sometimes there are stories that grab you by the heartstrings and the only way to live with yourself is to say, YES to the project.
I first heard of DiveHeart DC, an adaptive scuba program, from a friend while reporting for WUSA9 on a Habitat for Humanity Project in Alexandria, VA. This local business leader explained there is group of children learning to scuba dive in an Arlington swimming pool and I should check it out. I'm grateful for his recommendation and introduction to this organization. The people associated with DiveHeart are fabulous and the kids grab your attention with their enthusiasm.
You can't spend time with children who live with disabilities and not learn something.
What we learned is that children with disabilities are kids who want to be seen a kids. Not a surprise, maybe? Stay with me, there is more to this.
The more you watch and interact with these young people you learn they don't let much stop them. Each child finds a way to make scuba work for them. The thrill of the gravity-free environment gives these kids something they don't get on land- that's freedom of movement.
The ease with which these children move under 25 feet of ocean water was a beautiful scene. They are fearless, little wetsuit warriors jumping into the endless blue.
I should mention each child was closely supervised by a highly trained scuba professional. Safety was the number one priority for all. Each child is scuba certified and have personally invested a lot of time and energy into their underwater passion.
All that pool diving is only the beginning for each child. The ocean is the goal for them. It's amazing to see how at home they are there in ocean. Their time underwater seems priceless, playful and relaxing. In those minutes underwater, time stands still and gravity loosens its grip.
Each child is fully in the moment as they carefully float around coral, swim near a school of fish or watch a nurse shark patrol the seafloor. These kids seem to be keepers of some peaceful wisdom that may as well be sunken treasure to the rest of us. They know where to look for fun and freedom and it's beyond any screen.
At a time when many of us are rushing around meeting deadlines, posting on social media it can be hard to be present for the life around us. I'm not saying the children don't have their challenging moments or days or that they are always happy but they know something most of us don't. They know have to jump in with both feet. You have to find a way to do what makes you happy. You have to have courage and when you're in over your head - you scuba dive. These kids live in the now and it is a beautiful thing to witness even for a short time. Thank you Rosemary Ciotti area DiveHeart DC manager for sharing something unforgettable and impactful.