Some very special flowers have recently sprouted in Goulburn, Australia, much to the delight of two-year old Charlie Green and his family. Like most flowers, they required a great deal of love and dedication, but not in the form of sunlight and rain showers. Rather, they needed Quotarian support…and a digital camera.
Photographs bloom in the centers of Charlie’s flowers, which were crafted from popsicle sticks and construction paper, and allow him to enjoy the outdoors while planting the seeds of his communication skills and vocabulary. The pictures, captured with the camera that Quota International of Goulburn in New South Wales purchased, are tools in the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). The system uses pictures to help children like Charlie, who is autistic, develop an understanding of concepts without the presence of concrete items—an ability often taken for granted, but essential for speech.
PECS is part of the Applied Behavior Analysis Program that will help Charlie maximize his ability to succeed in our world. Because the Australian government does not provide funding for the treatment, his family has undertaken the financial burden of the innovative program, making Quota International’s camera donation enormously helpful.
Charlie is one of many children benefiting from Quota International’s commitment to serving those with communication challenges. Quotarians all over the world have provided financial, medical, and emotional support to give these individuals access to cutting-edge technology and innovative programs.
Like Charlie, Shannon Wharton and Ryan Carpenter have benefited immensely from this support. Beginning with a stroke before he was born, Shannon has endured a number of handicaps that have threatened to isolate him socially. However, he has remained interactive and engaged with his peers and community, thanks to Sherry, his committed mother; Quota International; and ever-improving technology. QI of Wooster, Ohio, U.S.A. helped Sherry purchase an Optimist 3 Sound Board, a lightweight and easily portable computer that displays pictures that correlate with the words in Shannon’s vocabulary. The push of a button allows Shannon to use these pictures to communicate with his classmates, and as his vocabulary develops, new pictures can be programmed into the machine. Already, Shannon’s speech patterns are improving and his vocabulary growing.
Ryan Carpenter, too, experienced challenges as a newborn. Born two months premature to Quotarian Tina Carpenter (QI of Lake County, Ohio, U.S.A.), Ryan spent his first 109 days of life in the hospital and was ultimately diagnosed with auditory neuropathy, an unusual type of hearing loss that requires special treatment. At the age of two, he was fitted for a cochlear implant, and his hearing and communication abilities have been further enhanced with the help of Quota International. Local Quotarians supplied multiple Lake County classrooms with sound amplification systems, which, by minimizing background noise and amplifying a teacher’s voice, have been proven to promote academic achievement and prevent distraction for all children. Currently, Ryan and his preschool peers are enjoying the systems in their class and will continue to do so in years to come.
As Ryan progresses from grade to grade, Shannon and Charlie will also continue to grow and open doors that were once closed. The combination of technology, family support, and Quotarian involvement is a winning—and ever-growing—formula for all involved.
Your Quota club can help a child grow, too!
Sponsoring a specific child or project is a great way to fulfill Quota’s mission to serve those in need. Doing so allows your club to reach for concrete goals and experience the impact of its contribution at a very personal level. Here are some suggestions for finding a specific project or a child like Charlie, Shannon, or Ryan to support:
- As a club, consider your interests, strengths, and resources. If fund-raising is one of your club’s strengths, you might look into raising money for technology and other resources. If you are seeking direct service opportunities, considers the ways you would like to serve.
- Contact individuals who might be able to connect you with those in need. Such resources include local physicians, schools, churches, and community centers. Ask if there is a specific child they know who might need support or if they have technological needs you might be able to help meet. Get information on a range of ways you might be able to serve that family.
- With this information, determine how you might like to proceed. How do you propose helping the family/individual? Discuss with the referrer how best to get in contact with the family.