A hands-on presentation and in-pool demonstration by Youth Diving With a Purpose (YDWP) is set for Thursday, July 11 at the Betty T. Ferguson Recreational Complex, 3000 N.W. 199th St., Miami Gardens, from 1 – 4 p.m.
Tennessee-based YDWP is designed to challenge and empower youths ages 15-23 to pursue scuba diving skills, which lead to myriad educational, travel and maritime career paths as well as maturity and environmental stewardship.
Led by dive instructor Kenneth Stewart, teen divers from Youth Diving With a Purpose are conducting volunteer dive excursions in Biscayne National Park.
Extending a commitment to environmental education and exposing more youth of color to the world of diving, YDWP is joining the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and members of the National Parks Conservation Association in conducting demonstrations of dive equipment and technique with the youths.
A key objective is to motivate, encourage and inspire the next generation of youth of color to pursue dive skills and water-related career opportunities.
“Oftentime youth of color are not exposed to these activity choices or career possibilities and that’s one reason I created Youth Diving With a Purpose,” said Stewart.
“I wanted to create an organization of African-American divers who would travel, learn and explore together. If I knew years ago that you could make a living doing this, my life would have been totally different today.”
Miami Gardens youths taking part in the unique demonstration will hear from expert leaders in the dive field, including dive master Kamau B.A. Sadiki, vice president of the National Association of Black Scuba Divers and an Underwater Archeology Advocate; Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Dive Master Lt. Marcend Coney; and dive master Jay Haigler, a National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Scientific Diver, one of only 586 divers worldwide to hold the distinction.
A film documentary crew working with YDWP and a Miami-Dade Fire Rescue videographer will also be on scene capturing the day’s events.
The three-hour hands-on scuba diving demonstration is expected to be the first in a series of new partnerships between Miami Gardens Parks and Recreation and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, in efforts to expose more youth of color to water-related recreational activities and career opportunities.
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