news releases

22 March 2024

Hispanic Access Announces Selection of Cohort for Scuba Diving Certification Program

Category: News Releases

Hispanic Access Foundation is pleased to unveil the inaugural cohort for its “Olas y Acción Deepening Inclusion Via Engagement Support” (D.I.V.E.S.)  groundbreaking scuba diving certification program aimed at fostering diversity and inclusion within the realm of certified Latino divers. This initiative also seeks to enhance access to skill development and community-building opportunities for aspiring leaders in marine conservation.

“Latinos are greatly underrepresented in marine and environmental conservation in general,” said Sofia Barboza, Hispanic Access Foundation’s Ocean Manager. “With a population size of approximately 63.6 million and an 18 percent faster growth rate than the nation’s average, Latinos have the potential for tremendous influence in shaping the future of conservation. Increasing their representation is critical for effective conservation.”

Latinos are also less likely to visit parks and participate in outdoor recreational activities due to factors like language barriers, lack of transportation, time constraints, limited platforms, proximity to conservation areas, and resources. The initiative is a response to the challenges faced by Latino communities, that hinder their engagement with oceanic conservation efforts. By eliminating these barriers, the D.I.V.E.S. program aims to empower both emerging and established ocean stewards, nurturing a diverse and vibrant community of advocates for our oceans.

This pioneering program, supported by the National Ocean Protection Coalition (NOPC), will certify 10 new Latino divers in its first year. Selected participants will engage in immersive dive experiences and a series of workshops and share their insights and adventures online, serving as inspirations for future generations of Latino-certified scuba divers.

The D.I.V.E.S. inaugural cohort is composed of: 

  •    Rebecca Torres (Texas)
  •    April Morrow (Washington)
  •    Natalie De La Torre Salas (Florida)
  •    Ana Alexandra Rojas (Florida)
  •    Yadira Capaz (Florida)
  •    Martina Potlach (Florida)
  •    Journey Feliciano (Georgia)
  •    Laura Carolina Marin (Puerto Rico)
  •    Inmagela Rivas Abreu (Illinois)
  •    Patricia Maria Gonzales (Missouri)

“Selected program participants conveyed a deep passion for ocean life and its preservation,” said Ana Jimenez, Hispanic Access Foundation’s Network Manager. “These Latino community leaders possess a deep love for the ocean and commitment to its preservation. They represent Hispanic Access’ core values of trustworthiness, dedication, service to the community, and excellence. We are eager for them to share their experiences in the program.”

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Hispanic Access Foundation connects Latinos and others with partners and opportunities to improve lives and create an equitable society.

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