2006 Excellence Award Winners

Excellence in Service— Hearing and Speech

Quota International of Mississippi Gulf Coast

That familiar saying is, “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” This describes perfectly how Quota International of Mississippi Gulf Coast used the misfortune of Hurricane Katrina to change their literacy program to include deaf and hearing-impaired children. The Quotarians established a plan to promote reading literacy for lower income families. In the midst of this ambitious project, which was slated to provide books and story times for young children, the hurricane hit. It looked as if “Socks N. Pockets,” the colorful mascot created to give the positive message of the importance of reading, would be out of a job. With club members having to relocate, the much-needed fund-raisers to buy books for the Socks program were put on hold.

Enter the Memphis School for the Deaf! The children decided to donate the 250 books, which they had been given by the Quota clubs of the South Area. Inspired by this generous gift, the Quotarians decided to introduce American Sign Language to hearing children. Socks N. Pockets had 30 “favorite words” hidden in the pockets of her costume. As children were asked to choose a word, a deaf interpreter taught the children how to sign the term. As “Socks” read the story, “Pockets,” the interpreter, signed it.

With the assistance of the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center, the Socks N. Pockets program was relaunched. The plan has some wonderful fringe benefits. Besides helping the lower income families as well as the speech and hearing impaired, this Quota club has attracted publicity in the local news. There have even been inquiries about club membership. See what good things can happen when you make lemonade!

To read or print the club’s winning application, click here*.

Quota International of Wooster

Birthday cake, candles, ice cream, and balloons make a great celebration, but the moment most kids look forward to is opening their gifts. Shannon Wharton is no exception. Along with a huge bag of presents, Shannon received a gift of a lifetime. Thanks to the generous support of Quota International of Wooster, he received an Optimist 3 Soundboard, which helps him to communicate with his family and friends.

Shannon suffered a stroke before he was born and has endured multiple handicaps, most notably, the inability to communicate verbally. With money provided by the Quota club, Shannon’s mother Sherry was able to purchase this incredible piece of equipment. Lightweight and easily portable, this small little “computer” makes it possible for Shannon to speak with his classmates by pushing a button. As his vocabulary develops, new pictures can be placed on the grid and programmed into the machine. With all of the practice he gets, Shannon’s speech patterns have steadily increased.

This “gift of a lifetime” from Quota opens a whole new world of expression for this young boy. And like all really good birthday gifts, it’s one that everyone who converses with Shannon can enjoy.

To read or print the club’s winning application, click here*.

To return to the 2006 Excellence Award Winners main page, click here.

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