PLATINUM2024

AQUA-NUT DIVERS

Veterans Empowered Through Scuba

aka VETS (Veterans Empowered Through Scuba) Project   |   Bakersfield, CA   |  http://www.aqua-nut.com/vets.html

Mission

Aqua-Nut Divers honors the sacrifice that our brave military veterans have made in service of our country. Our mission is to provide a transformative experience for disabled military veterans through scuba. Utilizing a dedicated staff of volunteers, we provide professional training for these veterans to become licensed scuba divers at no cost to the veterans. Training activities will foster a team atmosphere and provide a sense of accomplishment. We will also provide the resources for continued scuba diving activities. We anticipate participants will develop a passion for scuba diving and discover an activity that can be enjoyed for a lifetime.

Ruling year info

2017

President and CEO

Eric Schimon

Board Member/Secretary

Martha Schimon

Main address

13601 Rosedale Highway Suite G 201

Bakersfield, CA 93314 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

61-1855975

NTEE code info

Single Organization Support (W11)

Single Organization Support (N11)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

As an organization, we are working to establish stronger ties with other veteran organizations in our community so that we may work together for the common goal of helping our local veterans improve upon their mental health and reduce the suicide rate, hoping they live happier and healthier lives. The suicide rate has increased in recent years and it is 1.5 times that of nonveterans after adjusting for differences in age and sex, according to the Department of Veteran Affairs. We support the suicide prevention efforts of the VA and Dr. Carolyn Clancy who stated, "In the Department of Veterans Affairs FY 2018–2024 Strategic Plan, we have identified preventing Veteran suicide as our highest clinical priority, one that will require all of government, as well as public-private partnerships, to achieve. We know that suicide is preventable, and we all have a role to play in saving lives. We must act now to save lives and help those who have served our nation live healthy, productive lives."

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Aqua-Nut Divers VETS Program (Veterans Empowered Through Scuba)

Aqua-Nut Divers honors the sacrifice that our brave military veterans have made in service of our country. Our mission is to provide a transformative experience for disabled military veterans through scuba. Utilizing a dedicated staff of volunteers, we provide professional training for these veterans to become certified scuba divers at no cost to the military veterans. Training activities will foster a team atmosphere and provide a sense of accomplishment. We will also provide the resources for continued scuba diving activities which we hope can be therapeutic for military veterans suffering from PTSD or any other disability. We anticipate participants will develop a passion for scuba diving and discover an activity that can be enjoyed for a lifetime as they build comradery with fellow divers and develop an additional system of support.

Population(s) Served
Veterans
People with disabilities

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of public events held to further mission

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Health

Related Program

Aqua-Nut Divers VETS Program (Veterans Empowered Through Scuba)

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) event advertised as “Try Scuba in a Pool," Give Big Kern, & live music fundraiser to highlight our cause as we introduce SCUBA to our disabled veterans/public.

Number of pro bono hours contributed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Health

Related Program

Aqua-Nut Divers VETS Program (Veterans Empowered Through Scuba)

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The hours include time for organizing and preparing for trainings and events, teaching open water/advanced classroom lessons, pool and ocean training, traveling, writing grants, meetings, etc.

Number of Facebook followers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Health

Related Program

Aqua-Nut Divers VETS Program (Veterans Empowered Through Scuba)

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Scuba-Diving-Center/Aqua-Nut-Divers-328259013984503/

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

• Achieve a reduction in the suicide rate every year or help maintain a zero-suicide rate in Kern County while promoting mental health and well-being, through scuba
• Reduce Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms in military disabled veterans, participating the V.E.T.S Project
• By 2025, provide at least 30 open water certifications to disabled military veterans at no cost to them
• By 2025, provide at least 30 advanced scuba certifications to disabled military veterans at no cost to them
• By 2025, provide at least 30 rescue diver certifications to disabled military veterans at no cost to them
• By 2025, provide scuba training for wives of disabled veterans at a discounted rate so that scuba may be a common activity, creating stronger relational connections as a couple and strengthening the marriage.
• Offer more opportunities every year for our military disabled veterans to stay active in scuba upon achieving their scuba certification
• Offer a transformative experience to our military disabled veterans through scuba where they develop a stronger system of support as they build new friendships
• Strengthen our ties with veteran organizations in our community
• Strengthen three areas of need in the lives of disabled military veterans as presented in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: belonging/love (friends, family, spouse), self-esteem (achievement mastery), and self-actualization (pursue inner talent)
• By 2030, strengthen the protection of marine and coastal ecosystems to help avoid significant adverse impacts, including by educating our trainees and encouraging the cleaning of our oceans for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans through events such as the Harbor Clean Up in Santa Catalina Island.

With the help of the veterans center in Bakersfield, we will continue to identify those veterans with disabilities who qualify for scuba training at no cost to them. Any interested veterans may continue to contact this organization to express interest or aqua-nut divers directly. We will provide our veterans with additional support and/or education through quarterly club meetings. We also will keep in contact them with to invite them on boat trips as these trips become available at no cost to them. We also will identify which of the trained veterans would like to advancing their skills and become advanced divers. Depending on funds, we will offer rescue diver and dry suit courses for these advanced divers so they may be more proficient in the sport. In addition, we will continue to work with Bakersfield Scuba to offer our veterans free rental gear and discounted rates for some of the gear and with Seaport Village in Catalina to offer discounted room rates so that our cost to train veterans is at a minimum.

We aim to educate our scuba trainees about the adverse impact of ocean pollution to strengthen the protection of our marine and coastal ecosystems, encouraging the cleaning of our oceans for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans through events such as the Harbor Clean Up in Santa Catalina Island.

With a team of six PADI professionals and with all of us trained as part of the Handicap Scuba Association (HSA), we are able to provide disabled veterans with the necessary training to become certified open water divers, advanced divers, rescue divers, dive masters, and assistant instructors. With the fundraising from this year, we will be able to accomplish our goal of training more disabled veterans. We trust our local community will continue to support our cause this year including the Bakersfield Police Officers Association, Kern Law Enforcement Association, Wounded Heroes, Rabobank, and Three-Way Chevrolet. Even a small contribution helps us get closer to our goal of training a group of veterans every year.

Our first year, we trained our first group of six disabled veterans. The following year, five of them continued their training and earned an advanced diving certification. That same year, we had another 6 disabled veterans earn their open water certification. Our third year, we had six veterans trained as open water divers and we had six of them earn an advanced certification. Our fourth year, we had six disabled veterans complete their open water certifications and six completed advanced certifications. During our fifth year, we had four students signed up for open water and advanced certifications and six signed up for rescue diver certifications. This was the first rescue diver class since we started out non-profit organization. We provided 5 veterans with CPR certifications. This year we have a class of six veterans signed up for open water and advanced certifications, another six signed up for rescue diving certifications, and six others signed up for dry suit certifications. This will be our first dry suit certification class. We also will be offering another CPR class this year for our disabled military veterans.

We have offered two boat dives a year to our disabled military veterans since 2019 and we have two planned this year once again.

Since the start, our organization has attended the Harbor Clean Up in Santa Catalina to clean up our ocean and we have encouraged our trainees to attend in an effort to help protect our marine and coastal ecosystems.

As we introduce our cause to more organizations and with more funding, we hope to continue to offer open water, advanced, rescue, and dry suit certifications and to further the training of our V.E.T.S Project students so that they may further advance their skills.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback

Financials

AQUA-NUT DIVERS
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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AQUA-NUT DIVERS

Board of directors
as of 03/02/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Eric Schimon

Aqua-Nut Divers

Term: 2017 -

John Buoni

Aqua-Nut Divers

Jay Lockridge

Aqua-Nut Divers

Michael Lockridge

Aqua-Nut Divers

Shane Anderson

Aqua-Nut Divers

Martha Schimon

Aqua-Nut Divers

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 4/2/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability