The Blue Ring Initiative will be holding its inaugural ocean celebration and fundraiser, dubbed “Sea Change,” in Chicago next week.

On the day of June 29 fundraiser, the John G. Shedd Aquarium will play host to a group of 20 girls from Step Up, where they will spend the morning (10am-12pm) exploring the aquarium while staff members stop by to answer questions during their visit. After lunch at the aquarium, they will head to the pool to learn about snorkeling, scuba diving, and the science behind breathing underwater with a two-hour program run by Blue Endeavors. Gear will be provided by Captain Bob, a dive instructor and boat captain who teaches scuba at New Trier High School. Several adults (1:5, adults:kids) will be helping and they will start with snorkeling, migrating to scuba gear only if/when kids are comfortable.

Participants won’t actually be descending to the bottom of the pool, just trying out the gear in the shallow end so they can get a feel for how it all works. The ultimate goal is to get these girls introduced to the world of water in a new way. If they like it, maybe it will foster an interest that could potentially turn into a hobby and maybe even a career later in life.

In the days leading up to the event, artist Jennifer Idol will be painting a 5-foot by five-foot (1.5-meter by 1.5-meter) mural titled “Ring of Hope,” featuring the silhouettes of a whale shark, sea turtle, manta ray and skin diver that signify humanity’s relationship between these keystone species.

For more info on the event, check out the Blue Ring Intiative’s website at bluering.blue.

The Blue Ring Initiative will be holding its inaugural ocean celebration and fundraiser, dubbed “Sea Change,” in Chicago next week.