On Monday, September 18th, we hosted a fundraiser in New York City, sponsored by ZUMA, a contemporary Japanese restaurant in midtown Manhattan. Many thanks to Christian Wild, General Manager of ZUMA, and Marisa Colangelo, Director of Private Events, for their generous support in hosting our event.

About 35 “friends of Stay-Focused” attended the event, along with Stay-Focused board members Gregg Chalmers, John Hillen, Tom McInerney, Brian Siemann, Joe Rooney, and Trisha Yurochko. Roger Muller, Founder/President of Stay-Focused, and Ryan Chalmers, Director of Programs, welcomed the guests, including Stay-Focused alumna, Emma Albert, and alumnus, Justin Walker. First-time and newly-PADI certified divers Matt Castagna, Josh Decker, and Miguel Jiminez also joined the gathering and spoke about their Stay-Focused experiences.

Justin Walker delivered a compelling testimonial about how his Stay-Focused experience has changed his life. In Justin’s words: “Becoming a certified scuba diver, while having a disability, is proof if you put your mind and heart into something the outcome will be far greater than you ever imagined. Being in the water gives you a sense of freedom … and the fish don’t judge you. Knowing I am able to say I’m a certified scuba diver is beyond amazing, and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity Stay-Focused gave me.”

Tom Ludington, U.S. General Manager of the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism (CIDOT), has generously sponsored one of our divers for several years, and announced he would sponsor two divers in 2018, which is great news.

We were also delighted to have Nicoletta (Nico) Bumbac from JetBlue join us. Last summer, JetBlue partnered with Stay-Focused, and provided travel vouchers for seven of our divers, who traveled nonstop from New York’s JFK to Grand Cayman. We are delighted to have JetBlue as a new sponsor, and look forward to working with Nico, and Wendy Juengerkes, Product Manager/JetBlue Getaways, going forward.