Sea Dwellers was lucky to go scuba diving with some very special kids this past week. A great Dive Center in Chicago, DJ’s Scuba Locker, who has been diving with Sea Dwellers for many years now, is working with the “Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago” to give some of these kids the rare experience of Scuba Diving.
Most of the kids we had on our boat had Cerebral Palsy, which causes physical disabilities to various degrees. They started out in Chicago in the pool to prep, and I’m pretty sure not one of these kids had ever been out in the ocean before, some, possibly, never even on a boat.
Now we’ve had big, strong, healthy men and women on the boat trying to scuba dive for the first time who couldn’t make it. These kids, with real physical issues, had to overcome a lot in my opinion to progress to diving in the open ocean. But this is exactly what they did; they went scuba diving. I have to admit, I was skeptical at first, but I’m happy to report that their desire to overcome was strong, and they succeeded in their task. I was personally struck by their calm demeanor. If one had a setback, just get it out of your system, and then try again. That’s just the way they did it. I was struck by their bravery. I was also struck by their wonderful smiles, even though they had issues to deal with that most of us can only imagine. Wow.
It was amazing being a part of this. The credit goes to the Instructional staff of DJ’s Scuba Locker, who did a wonderful job preparing these kids and working with them. As well as the staff of the RIC, who works with these wonderful kids full-time, not only on special occasions like this.
But of course, in the end, it’s about Ethan, Russell, Shawn, Ashanti, Juana and Aleza, our newest scuba divers.
And their beautiful smiles…