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Welcome to the Marine Education Program blog! Visit this site for information about our efforts to incorporate boating, scuba diving and marine related fields into our unique combination of education, behavior modification, and treatment to help at-risk youth discover their full potential and guiding them on their paths to a positive future.

  • Corporate Dive Control Officer appointed

    by Jorge Mahauad | Oct 04, 2018
    St. Petersburg, FL

    Jorge A. Mahauad, Marine Program and Yacht Donation Marketing Manager was appointed as Corporate Dive Control Officer position for AMIkids yesterday.

    The Corporate Dive Control Officer (CDCO) oversees Dive Safety Officers (DSO) in programs with independent dive operations and supervises overall compliance with legal and safety standards. The CDCO also executes dive programs in schools without the resources to execute independent dive operations from the AMIkids Inc. home office in Tampa and Boatyard in St. Petersburg.

    AMIkids Dive Control Officer

    "I look forward to working with our programs in Greater Fort Lauderdale, Miami-Dade North Miami-Dade South, Panama City Marine Institute, Beaufort, Baton Rouge and Savannah River closely and also to developing new dive programs in Jacksonville and Southwest Florida soon",  he said.

  • AMIkids Manatee youth experiences fishing in Tampa Bay

    by Jorge Mahauad | Sep 26, 2018

    On Monday, three youth from AMIkids Manatee departed from our boatyard in St. Petersburg to experience fishing in the seagrass flats of Tampa Bay. This experience is part of the AMIkids Marine Education Program and is designed to engage at-risk youth in outdoor marine activities with a focus in environmental education.


    The Tampa Bay fishing experience is conducted by expert fisherman Kent Reinehart, Director of Compliance at AMIkids and the AMIkids Marine Education team. During this fishing experience we were able to talk about different species of fish caught including trout, mangrove snapper, stingrays and remoras.

    The AMIkids Marine Education Program is an initiative designed to offer these experiences to at-risk youth. AMIkids Inc. is committed to funding the Marine Education Program and it's expansion through partnerships within the outdoor adventure, maritime industry and other related partners in the private and public sectors.

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  • AMIkids Southwest Florida visits the Marine Education Program

    by Jorge Mahauad | Sep 25, 2018

    St. Petersburg, FL

    Four youth and two staff from AMIkids Southwest Florida traveled to the Bay area to participate in two days of marine education activities. Draco, Ryan, Gabriel and Levi started the two day field trip with a Discover Scuba Experience followed by a Floating Classroom on September 21st. 

    Discover Scuba Diving Southwest FL

    Discover Scuba Diving was conducted at Bill Jacksons Shop for Adventure in Pinellas Park and offered the participants a quick and easy introduction to what it takes to explore the underwater world. The kids learned the basic safety guidelines and practiced the basic skills needed to dive under the direct supervision of an instructor. The Southwest Florida group was joined by a group of employees from Apple, one of our corporate partners helping mentor kids separate a troubled past from a bright future.

    SWFLA Discover Scuba

    The Floating Classroom was conducted on board the Orlando’s Rose, a Silverships landing craft donated by Bill and Carol Barrows. The Floating Classroom is an innovative tool to inspire youth in our programs to get involved in the outdoors and become better stewards of the environment around them. The AMIkids youth were also joined by four participants from AMIkids Tampa, one of our recurring participants taking youth outdoors on a regular basis. As usual, we had a Biologist from MOTE Marine Laboratory, another corporate partner providing valuable lectures and environmental interpretation on board.

    SWFLA  Floating Classroom

    This extended two day curriculum is part of the AMIkids Marine Education Program expansion, an initiative designed to offer this experience to even more at-risk youth. AMIkids Inc. is committed to funding the Marine Education Program expansion through partnerships within the outdoor adventure, maritime industry and other related partners in the private and public sectors.
  • AMIkids Pinellas... Gone Fishin'

    by Jorge Mahauad | Sep 10, 2018
    The Tampa Bay Fishing Experience team

    St. Petersburg, FL

    On September 10, 2018 four youth from AMIkids Pinellas were the first group to experience a new Marine Education experiential learning component. 

    The Tampa Bay Fishing Experience is an outdoor curriculum designed to provide participants with hands-on experience about the species of fish in the bay.

    Complementing the floating classroom, this experience provides more in depth knowledge of our estuaries and with basic fishing skills they can replicate in the future. It also includes a hands on small boating component.

    Pinellas Fishing  AMIkids Boating

    The program is conducted using one of our fleet boats but the skills taught are transferable to be used from a bridge or from the beach. Multiple AMIkids award winning fisherman, and Director of Compliance Kent Rinehart conducted the program. 

    Marine Education, Fishing Experience Marine Education, Fishing Experience 

    At the end of this experience each participant gets to take home a basic fishing pole and reel they can use anytime on their own. The objective of gifting them with their first rod and reel is to provide them with fun, cheap outdoor activities to keep them out of trouble. And… who knows, maybe they also catch some fish to fry!

  • AMIkids recognizes MOTE Marine Laboratory for 3 year partnership

    by Jorge Mahauad | Sep 07, 2018

    St. Petersburg, FL

    Earlier today, AMIkids President and CEO Mike Thornton and the AMIkids Marine Education Program team members recognized the Education Department of MOTE Marine Laboratory for their support with the Floating Classroom initiative. A Thank You plaque was delivered.

    MOTE Marine Laboratory staff and Mike Thornton, AMIkids CEO

    MOTE Marine Laboratory has been a key partner in the execution of the Floating Classroom.

    All AMIkids programs have the opportunity to bring youth to St. Petersburg, where students and team members embark on Orlando’s Rose, a marine research vessel docked in Tampa Bay, and take a day trip to a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico. On the boat trip, educators from Mote Marine Laboratory teach a marine biology lesson, integrating the core subjects of math and science. Youth then have the opportunity to learn hands-on about the ecosystem by wading in the water, collecting samples, and inspecting creatures under on-board microscopes.

    The Floating Classroom takes one trip per month; our goal is to expand the curriculum of the Floating Classroom to expose the students to a greater understanding of our local estuaries.

    Learn more about the Floating Classroom here.

  • 11 youth experience Scuba Diving in Jacksonville

    by Jorge Mahauad | Sep 05, 2018

    St. Petersburg, FL
    August 31, 2018

    The AMIkids Marine Education Program brought the life changing experience of scuba diving to our school in Jacksonville. 11 youth had different interactions with dive theory and practice in the water. Special thanks to JAX board member Alan Learch who helped fund the pool at the Jacksonville program and physically helped with students in the water.

    Discover Scuba is one of the components of the Marine Education experiential approach and  has been at the core of AMIkids programming from the beginning. We are currently embarking on an ambitious expansion of the Marine Education Program, to offer this experience to even more at-risk youth. 

    Research shows that kids who participate in experiential learning form a stronger bond with their teachers, therapists, and other staff. Those bonds, and the trust that develops within a meaningful relationship with our kids, help us to serve them better. 

    In addition, experiential education opportunities are used as an incentive within AMIkids programs for youth who are working toward academic and behavioral goals. It also offers the opportunity for a mutual start in exploring new activities, leveling the playing field for students of diverse life histories to engage in the learning and to connect with one another and the environment around them.

    The AMIkids Marine Education Program is based on strong environmental values and involves participants with their natural surroundings.

  • AMIkids Manatee discovers SCUBA diving!

    by Jorge Mahauad | Aug 24, 2018
    On August 24, 2018 five students from the AMIkids Manatee program visited our boatyard in St. Petersburg, FL to participate in a Discover Scuba Diving Experience.

    Congratulations Andy, Rixby, Edward, Davidson and Armanhi. You did really great, keep up the good work. And thanks to the donors who made this experience possible.
  • AMIkids Floating Classroom

    by Jorge Mahauad | Aug 08, 2018
    The Floating Classroom is an innovative tool to inspire youth in our programs to get involved in the outdoors and become better stewards of the environment around them.

    "The Orlando’s Rose", a vessel designed to conduct marine education and research activities and donated by Bill and Carol Barrows, provides the youth with a half day excursion.

    AMIkids partners with Mote Marine Laboratory Educators who provide lectures and environmental interpretation on board. The curriculum includes field activities such as identifying different organisms and collecting specimen samples in the waterways around the greater Tampa area. Check it out!

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  • The 2018 Presidential Dive Challenge aboard Orlando's Rose

    by Jorge Mahauad | Jul 20, 2018
    St. Petersburg, FL

    A few photos of the the 2018 Presidential Dive Challenge aboard Orlando's Rose below.

    The annual AMIkids Presidential Dive introduces youth to the underwater world and allows students who have earned the opportunity to participate a chance to explore different animals, habitats and most importantly become open water certified by the completion of the week-long event.

    Every year more than 50 youth and 40 staff spend three days becoming more familiar with the Key Largo region and the pristine waters that are home to species of all shapes and sizes along with exotic plant life. Students were able to apply everything they learn in the classroom over months of preparation and good behavior and begin to truly understand how the deep blue environment functions.

    The presidential dive trip also provides time for youth and staff from multiple programs a chance to interact with one another developing lifelong friendships. Through these newly formed friendships, students and staff were able to assist one another in different diving exercises and begin to understand that nothing could stop them as long as they applied themselves and encouraged one another to reach their full potential.

    The trip closes with an awards ceremony and dinner for the youth presenting them with their diving certifications and complimenting them on their hard work throughout the week.

  • 7 youth from AMIkids Pinellas participate to Discover Scuba Diving

    by Jorge Mahauad | Jul 09, 2018

    St. Petersburg, FL

    7 youth from AMIkids Pinellas participated in a PADI Discover Scuba Diving.  The DSD is a supervised scuba experience designed to introduce non-divers to the underwater world. 

    The kids were extremely happy and excited; they immediately asked: when can we do this again!? 

    The AMIkids marine program will be conducting more DSD experiences with schools throughout the second semester of 2018 and the introductory experience will be a regular ongoing marine initiative.