World Champion Magician & “Thrillusionist” to team up with Mission Volant, in an effort to raise $60,000 for “Falling Soldiers” at the India Community Center in Milpitas, CA on September 14.
Saving soldiers from PTSD is as simple as combining Magic with Skydiving. Wait, what? You read that right. Famed Illusionist David DaVinci partners up with Mission Volant; a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that specializes in Veteran Adventure Therapy. MV has an incredibly successful track record at lending a helping hand by pushing veterans to their limits, or out of planes in this case.
“Combat is intense, and when soldiers return they often lack structure and intensity. For many, that greater lack allows for PTSD to set in… a leading cause of suicide in our profession,” says CHRISTIAN MEYERS, president & director of initiatives at Mission Volant. “Mission Volant provides enablement solutions to veterans, transforming them into driven and focused leaders as they transition back into civilian life.”
That’s where David DaVinci comes in. When not touring the seven seas entertaining families on Disney, Norwegian, or Celebrity Cruise Lines, he tours North America raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for charities in need. As an experienced skydiver himself, he was instantly able to recognize the significance of Mission Volant’s greater purpose, and lend a helping hand, and two tons of illusions!
It all started when he was 19 years old, and toured for six weeks across Canada raising a shocking $2 Million for charities ranging from Women’s Shelters to Burn Victims. Having a grandfather who survived a plane crash in 1961, the latter proved to be a valid launching point of inspiration for his future in charity work.
“I first fully realized the significance of using magic to help veterans in 2010 when I was touring arenas with a well known touring show,” says DaVinci. “A large group of families of fallen soldiers came to see one of our performances in that town. You could see the pain in their eyes when interacting with them before the show. In that moment I knew that I had the ability to give them permission to enjoy life. If only for the next two hours, I knew they could genuinely laugh and be amazed without guilt or sadness. That moment transformed me forever.”
On September 14, DaVinci won’t be raising money for fallen soldiers, but rather for “falling soldiers,” as Mission Volant strives to raise $60,000 to help transform veterans through skydiving!
When asked about the significance of skydiving and soldiers, Christian had this to say.
“We utilize Veteran Adventure Therapy to help present challenges, and to introduce them to new communities that offer support. Many veterans feel a desire to lead – when they are the newest person in an unfamiliar community, like the large family-like environment skydiving offers, it allows them to develop and grow. Ultimately, this grants them the possibility to become a leader again – transitioning and developing their abilities as a sport skydiver, into a coach, an instructor, and down the line taking other new people for their first skydive.”
Could this be the solution that researchers have been looking for, to help conquer PTSD and veteran suicide? Could an instantaneous and complete activation of the sympathetic nervous system through skydiving really act as an antidepressant? Could it act in a similar way to electroconvulsive (shock) therapy? Evidence and experience continues to support this theory.
“The veterans we primarily help have been injured in combat or have been in combat at least. You’re taking these guys who have operated at the highest levels the human body is capable of, and then they stop. That can feel like a fall and lead to a mental and emotional decline in many people, especially if they’re simultaneously dealing with an injury. Insert skydiving. A sport that is renowned for its association with adrenaline junkies and those who love to live in the moment. These guys want to feel alive again and really enjoy life – skydiving offers a rush that is akin to combat, in a more controlled environment.”
Now in their third year as a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit (yes, your donations and ticket purchases are tax deductible), you can rest assured of two things; You’ll be thoroughly entertained, and you’ll be doing much more than just buying someone a ticket to skydive.
“Our biggest goal, aside from our purpose of teaching veterans adventure sports, is to open the world’s first Adventure Therapy Academy. We want to have the one (or multiple) places on earth where those who suffer from life-altering circumstances such as combat related, victims of accidents or abuse, and other underserved communities, and provide opportunities and enablement solutions to help them continue on through life. With this academy, we will have a central location where our constituents can be safe, relax, and focus on developing themselves and a skillset that will last them a lifetime. For fiscal reasons, we have decided to pursue a mobile version to begin with. Purchasing a Mission Volant Mobile Adventure Therapy Academy is our first step – either a large RV, Sprinter Van, or even a retrofitted bus that allows MV volunteers to go to our donees to teach them, as well as cut out lodging costs. We want to make sure every dollar goes to our clients.”
The money earned will be spent either directly on their programs (teaching skydiving, paragliding, and piloting lessons), or if the time is right and they have the right opportunity to execute, purchase their Mobile Adventure Therapy Academy.
“I am incredibly proud of the effort the MV Team puts forth, and am proud to say that our income to program ratio for 2017 was 95%, up from 93% the previous year. 95 cents of every dollar went directly to our programs in 2017, with the additional 5% used on marketing or travel costs, as well as overhead. When you make a donation to Mission Volant, you can be assured that we are putting it to its best use. This puts Mission Volant near the top of not only all veteran nonprofits, but all nonprofits in the US period for percentage. These numbers are based on our IRS form 990.”
For more information, sponsorship opportunities, or to purchase tickets, please visit https://missionvolant.org/store/ or @missionvolant on Instagram. For more information on David DaVinci; https://daviddavinci.com or @Thrillusionist on Instagram.
The show is September 14, 2018 at 7PM. India Community Center • 525 Los Coches St, Milpitas, CA 95035. Family affordable tickets start at just $25.
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