2009 Excellence Award Winners

Excellence in Service—Hearing and Speech

Quota International of Metro Denver, Colorado, United States, District 9

Quota International of Metro Denver is a very different club today than it was just a year ago. Club members have learned how to dig deep within their own capabilities to accomplish feats they never thought they could do.

Take the Siemens Sound Beginnings Project, for example. The club initially budgeted only $2,500 to provide support services to needy children who receive free hearing aids from Siemens; not enough to support the 18 applications for these devices that they received. Rather than turn down children they couldn’t afford to help, Quotarians launched a massive fund-raising effort. They sought donations from other Quota clubs within and outside of the district, they applied for grants, and they participated in numerous speaking engagements to promote the cause in the community. To date, the club has raised enough money to provide support for the 18 children between the ages of 8 months and 13 years who have received 35 free hearing aids from Siemens.

The club’s support involved mentoring families to help them adjust to the changes resulting from their child’s ability to hear, including providing them with resources such as the AG Bell Association, Marion Downs, and Colorado Hands and Voices. Events were also held to expose families in the same situation to each other and to educate parents in raising a hearing-impaired child.

One event was particularly successful. Quotarians held a reception for the 18 children and their families during a celebration of Quota’s 90th birthday. Eighty-five people attended, including local audiologists and representatives from Siemens. Adding to the festivities, Siemens donated a big stuffed Mickey Mouse, lunch bag, book, and small stuffed bears with hearing aids to be used as prizes for the children. Quotarians provided bags to hold all of the handouts as well as a one-year supply of hearing aid batteries and a picture of Marlee Matlin, a deaf American actress, for each child.

Following the event, Siemens distributed a press release to the local media that resulted in newspaper coverage of the event. This coverage was unprecedented for the Denver Quota club, due to the difficulty of getting media attention in the past, especially in a city the size of Denver.

What did Denver Quotarians learn from the success of this project? They learned how to “dream big” and to find the resources within themselves and the community to make their dreams for the club come true. The club is no longer a small fish in a very large metropolitan pond. It has achieved notoriety for the fine work it is doing with Sound Beginnings and from now on, the sky’s the limit!

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

Quota International of Port Huron, Michigan, United States, District 20

A true partnership in caring led by the Quota club of Port Huron, Michigan, has resulted in the distribution of seven free hearing aids and one year of follow-up care to five deserving children through the Siemens Sound Beginnings Program.

This was the first time that the club had participated in the Sound Beginnings Program. In order to ensure the program’s success, Port Huron Quotarians rallied their local health department, community service organizations, school districts, hospitals, and a host of audiologists and other medical professionals to participate in spreading the word about the program. These groups posted information about Sound Beginnings on their Web sites and in their newsletters, passed out fliers to families with hearing-impaired children and even contacted the media on Quota’s behalf.

The media was also heavily on board. Newspapers ran front page stories and articles about the program. Television and radio stations held live interviews and ran news clips for several weeks before the application deadline on September 30, 2008

The Club received five applications for seven hearing aids and was thrilled to learn that they would be receiving all seven hearing aids from Siemens. The Siemens Sound Beginnings Program offered through Quota International’s We Share Foundation is making 100 free hearing aids available to all Quota clubs in the United States. Receiving hearing aids for all five applications meant that the Quota Sound Beginnings team and its partners had done an excellent job identifying appropriate recipients in the extensive application process.

A celebration dinner and ceremony awarding free hearing aid vouchers to each recipient family was held during the club’s monthly business meeting on October 14, 2008. All recipient families attended and each family was introduced to its individual Quota Family Sponsor, who had been assigned to help the family with the paperwork required during the following year and to ensure that the family had everything it needed. The club also provided the funds to pay all of the expenses involved in the receipt of a free hearing aid, including initial appointments and subsequent office calls for fittings, moldings, follow-up care, a one year supply of hearing aid batteries, and mileage to and from appointments with the audiologist. This amounted to $500 to $700 per recipient family and was fully covered by the club’s previous fund-raising activities.

The benefits to the community and the Port Huron Quota club resulting from the club’s Sound Beginnings Pilot Program were extensive. The program not only awarded free hearing aids and follow-up care to five deserving children in a community that is hard hit by the recession, but it also increased community awareness of the club and its service and solidified the club’s relationship with the media. The club even added two new members as a result of the Sound Beginnings Program and is resolved to continue its service to the deaf and hearing impaired in the future.

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

To return to the 2009 Excellence Award Winners main page, click here.

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