Visually impaired youth scuba dive at Cumru Twp. senior community – Reading Eagle

April 9, 2019 - Comment

Written by Reading Eagle Visually impaired youth experienced the thrill of scuba diving Saturday at The Heritage of Green Hills. Sisters Naima and Kai Smith, 13 and 14, of York County, who are legally blind, joined Josephine Cusack, 13, of Leola, Lancaster County, in the pool at the senior living community in Cumru Township. “They



Written by Reading Eagle

Visually impaired youth experienced the thrill of scuba diving Saturday at The Heritage of Green Hills.

Sisters Naima and Kai Smith, 13 and 14, of York County, who are legally blind, joined Josephine Cusack, 13, of Leola, Lancaster County, in the pool at the senior living community in Cumru Township.

“They were just so excited,” said Cheryl Anderson, Wellness by Design director for The Heritage.

Anderson said this was the second year The Heritage hosted the event, but Saturday’s plunge was a first-time experience for the three young divers from VisionCorps.

The Lancaster-based non-profit helps those with visual impairment, including blindness, attain independence.

The girls familiarized themselves with the scuba equipment provided by Hilltop Diving before getting wet.

“They get to wear it, touch it and experience it before they go in the water,” Anderson said, “so they are not afraid.”

Participants also were given instructions by staff from the Adaptive Diving Association, an organization that helps individuals facing mobility challenges experience the zero-gravity environment of water.

Because of their vision impairment, these individuals have a higher sensory awareness, Anderson said.

“Their other senses kick in: hearing and touch,” she said. “It is actually a super, super thing to watch.”

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