Sertoma Stories Category

Nola’s Sertoma Story

Nola Pollman’s grandson, Isaac, received bilateral cochlear implants simultaneously when he was 13 months old. He was the 8th person in the world to have this surgery.

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2015-16 Sertoma Grant Recipient Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital (JHACH)

Can you imagine being a parent and having the opportunity to experience your child’s hearing loss through simulation technology? Or having access to the best hearing health professionals, top-of-the-line equipment and counseling services?

For over 50 years the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital (JHACH) and Sertoma have been working together to create a healthier hearing world and future for those with hearing loss.

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2015-16 Deaf and Hard of Hearing Scholarship Recipient

Her dream was to become an actress; to thrive and glow in the bright dazzling city of New York. But after experiencing difficulties with her hearing loss in the industry,  she decided to pursue a new dream with a little help from Sertoma.

Douglas was born with normal hearing, but began to lose hers in her early 20’s. She was diagnosed with otosclerosis induced hearing loss, and despite two left ear surgeries and hearing aids, communication was still difficult… especially on stage.

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Hearing Health Seminar Inspires in Surprising Ways

Do you remember the last time you felt inspired to make a change in your life? At times, inspiration can be purely unpredictable. It can stem from a story, person or even an event. For 73-year-old Sertoma member, Buzz Lewis, it just happened to be all three.

It all started with a hearing health seminar that took place September 26, 2016. Each month, the Lexington Medical Center, in Lexington, South Carolina, provides free educational health seminars for the community. In September, the Lexington Sertoma Club teamed up with the hospital to feature hearing health as its spotlight topic of the month.

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Norfolk Sertoma’s Largest Donation Advances Hearing Research

Can you imagine a world where sound could be heard by all who wanted to hear? Anyone who desired to experience the melodic sounds of music and nature could have the chance without complica

Fortunately, due to medical research and breakthroughs in the industry, combined with the support and generosity of passionate individuals, this scenario is not entirely far from becoming a reality.

In June of 2015, the Norfolk Sertoma Club made its largest gift to date, which funded a temporal bone research lab at Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS).

The $150,000 donation helped fund the lab’s eight training stations,

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Sertoma and Delta Zeta Sponsor Special Trip for Students

Do you remember your favorite subject growing up? Was it art, history or government? Can you imagine a field trip that would be able to turn all three subjects into a memorable adventure?

Believe it or not, the Mansfield Sertoma Club of Mansfield Ohio, and the Delta Zeta Sorority of Ashland University, teamed up to provide students with a very special, yet educational day encompassing all three subjects.

Each year, the Mansfield Sertoma Club and Delta Zeta Sorority plan around 3-4 trips for the students attending the Mansfield public schools in order to help them learn and explore the community.

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Sertoma’s Pizzeria Lunch Helps Students Practice Speech

Communication is an art that cannot always be taught. For some students, it is a fundamental tool that takes time, persistence and patience to develop. For students attending the Texas School for the Deaf in Austin, Texas, a unique event was held to provide students with an opportunity to learn and implement various types of communication in a creative setting.

To help the students, the Northwest Sertoma Club, of Austin, Texas, has been volunteering and hosting an annual Pizzeria Luncheon.

This unique event is designed to provide students with the opportunity to speak with Sertoma members in an informal,

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Elizabeth’s Story

Elizabeth Quinley, a three-time award winner of Sertoma’s Hard of Hearing or Deaf scholarship, spoke about her personal hearing health journey at Sertoma’s National Convention in April 2016. The scholarships Quinley received through Sertoma allowed her to pursue her dream of audiology, and inspired her to join the organization to continue giving back. Watch her story!

If you’d like to make a contribution to Sertoma’s Annual Fund and assist in helping students just like Elizabeth, please donate now!

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Sertoma Empowers Deaf and Hard of Hearing Youth Baseball Players

Every child growing up has unique dreams and aspirations. For some children, these dreams can range anywhere from becoming a fearless fireman, to an ambitious astronaut or a legendary hall of fame baseball player.

For Deaf and Hard of Hearing children in Denver, Colorado, the LoDo Field of Dreams Sertoma Club hosted a special camp to help train and encourage the dreams of children within its community.

This year, the LoDo Field of Dreams Sertoma Club held its 20th annual Denver Field of Dreams baseball camp July 9-10 at the Regency Athletic Complex Baseball Field in Denver,

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Carson Valley Sertoma Scholarships Support Aspiring Students

Slowly transitioning into a new chapter of life is an outcome that looks different for everyone. For those graduating from high school, figuring out “what’s next” can be a process that requires time, effort and assistance.

Bob Centanni, a member of Sertoma for 20 years, created and began managing the Book Scholarship program in 1994. This scholarship program is one of the many ways that the Carson Valley Sertoma Club, of Carson Valley, Nevada, has positively and collectively impacted the youth in its community.

The scholarships are designed to help local high school graduates pursue their dream of attending a four year university by reducing the costs of books,

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Sertoma Club @ the Villages Hosts Annual Deaf and Hard of Hearing Youth Baseball Camp

The game of baseball is a classic and historical part of American history. For many children growing up, the hot summer days at the ball park become lifelong lessons and memories.

Unfortunately, for Deaf or Hard of Hearing children there are not always an unlimited amount of opportunities to learn or play baseball in a group setting.

However, thanks to groups such as the Sertoma Club @ the Villages, no child will ever feel left out at the ball field. Each year, The Sertoma Club @ the Villages hosts its annual Sertoma Fantasy Baseball Camp, for Deaf and Hard of Hearing boys and girls.

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Brainerd Sertoma Club Supports Student Trip to Gallaudet

What would you do if you were given a once in a lifetime opportunity to explore a new city, culture and way of life? For the American Sign Language Clubs of Central Lakes College and Brainerd High School of Brainerd, Minnesota, this question was turned into a reality.

In March 2016, 40 enthusiastic and adventurous students journeyed to the infamous Gallaudet University, in Washington D.C. This trip was supported and partially funded by the Brainerd Sertoma Club, and was designed to help students practice and expand their American Sign Language (ASL) skills.

Gallaudet University is the only Deaf liberal arts university in the world,

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Sertoma Grant Opens New Doors at Aspen Deaf Camp

Ah, the sweet essence and experience of summer camp. It is place where freedom and adventure intertwine, new relationships grow and comfort zones dissolve.

For those attending Aspen Camp in Snowmass, Colorado, it is a special opportunity for both Deaf* children and Deaf* adults to explore new realms, relationships and the outdoors.

Aspen Camp originated in 1967, and is currently the only Deaf* camp in the United States that provides year round programs to Deaf* youths, adults, families and hearing allies.

Aspen Camp focuses on the acceptance of Deafhood, and the ways in which people can embrace their individuality in a unified environment.

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Festive Event Promotes Sertoma’s Programs and Mission

Vibrant colors, smiling faces and unique custom table designs were more than plentiful this year at the 2016 Festival of Tables in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

This bright and festive event was designed as a way to showcase a variety of different ways to decorate and embellish tables using plates, silverware and other various types of décor. The event was designed to raise money for Active Generations, the Sioux Falls Senior Center.

Lisa Howard, the program director of Active Generations, recently visited one of the Minnehaha Sertoma Club’s meetings and had mentioned she was planning to host an event called the Festival of Tables in March 2016.

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Custom Hearing Aid Donation Changes Child’s Life

For months, five-year-old Sophia was beginning to distance herself socially in school. She became shy, timid and was having difficulty communicating. It wasn’t until she took a test, that her family and teachers soon realized there was more to the story.

The Sioux City Noon Sertoma Club first learned about Sophia and her story from a local audiologist named Mike Sloniker.  Sloniker has been an audiologist for 25 years, and owns Siouxland Hearing Healthcare, a private practice in Sioux City, Iowa. Throughout the years, he has formed a close professional relationship with the Sioux City Noon Sertoma Club,

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Unconventional Golf Tournament Benefits Hearing Health

Baby blue skies and unlimited Texas sunshine created the perfect day this year for Sertoma’s charitable golf tournament. The uniquely designed 27th Annual Port Arthur Noon Sertoma Club golf tournament was held April 10 at the beautiful Bayou Din Golf Club in Beaumont, Texas.

In total, the event raised around $9,000, and ended up being a huge success according to Tim Romero, a member of Sertoma, and the golf tournament chairman.

“Everybody felt great,” Romero said. “We generated a lot of good will for the name Sertoma, as well as our club. We made sure all of the participants knew that their donations would be going back into the community.”

The tournament consisted of 18 teams comprised of four men each.

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Sertoma Scholar Joins Organization to Give Back

Elizabeth Quinley, a 21-year-old, bright eyed scholar from Visalia, California, moved to Springfield, Missouri, to pursue her dream of helping others, and to achieve a higher education.

One of the biggest reasons Quinley moved to Springfield was because she had been selected to receive several scholarships, including three very special scholarships from Sertoma.

When Quinley was three-years-old, she was diagnosed with bilateral moderate mix hearing loss, and attended speech therapy shortly after.  At the age of four, she was provided with her first set of hearing aids, which allowed her to communicate and hear for the first time.

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Sertoma’s Unique Library Donation Helps Deaf Students

“Once upon a time, in a faraway land…” Does this sound familiar to you at all?

Often times it is the beginning of a story, a magical adventure with a realm full of endless possibilities.  For children growing up, stories tend to become an interactive way to connect with the people around them.  Unfortunately, for students in the deaf community, storytelling with their friends and family is not always as simple, due to language barriers.

Recently, the Kansas City Sertoma Club, of Kansas City, Missouri, donated $5,000 to the Kansas School for the Deaf (KSD) to help fund a specialized online library.

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Central Bucks Sertoma Donation Enhances Deaf Student’s Education

Gerardo, a smiling energetic eight -year-old with Down syndrome and deafness, was recently placed in an extremely difficult situation.  After the accidental shattering of his iPad cover, an incredibly important tool in which he uses to communicate in the classroom, Gerardo was left feeling sad and alone.  That is, until the Central Bucks Sertoma Club provided him with a new cover and speaker.

In the classroom and at home, Gerardo uses his iPad as an augmentative communicative device.  He uses the dynamic display screens to make requests, call on his classmates and to participate in daily classroom activities. 

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Minot Sertoma Club Gives the Gift of Music

Music is arguably one of life’s sweetest indulgences.  It is endlessly versatile, and has the amazing ability to bring people together. On the opposite end of the spectrum, it can also drive people apart under the right circumstances.

For example, can you imagine attending your favorite concert, and not being able to hear the music or interact with the people around you? It would be incredibly difficult, depressing and isolating.

In order to prevent anyone from feeling this kind of isolation, the Minot Sertoma Club, of Minot North Dakota, set out on a mission to help spread music,

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Nashville Sertoma Freedom Essay Contest Furthers Education

Freedom. The ability to make our own choices, and pave an independent path. High school students all over the country are faced with the difficult decision of determining their own path after graduation. In order to assist students in both their future and educational endeavors, the Nashville Sertoma Club, of Nashville, Tennessee, created a unique contest.

The Freedom Essay Contest, established in 1961, was designed to provide high school students with the opportunity to write essays for college scholarships.

The contest is specifically designed to financially assist high school seniors in pursuing a higher education after graduation.

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Mat-Su Sertoma Plunge Jump for Hearing Health!

Friendly faces, the fresh scent of Alaskan air and people jumping into freezing water! Say goodbye to cabin fever, it’s getting wild in Wasilla, Alaska.

Almost 100 people signed up this year to participate in the eighth annual Mat-Su Sertoma Plunge. The event took place Feb. 27 at the Palmer Elks Lodge on Finger Lake.

Participants from all over the world were dressed head to toe in colorful costumes to help raise money for hearing health and the local community.

Sondra Kaplan, the president of the Mat-Su Sertoma Club, said that although the event requires a lot of preparation and hard work,

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Student Learning Amplified by Sertoma in Nebraska Elementary School

Roaring bulldozers, thundering drills and sounds of noisy construction filled the halls in a small and busy elementary school located in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The 252 students attending Norwood Park Elementary School were placed in a difficult position. Although construction was temporary, students were unable to communicate effectively with their teachers due to the distracting environment. With no sufficient outlet or source of communication to help overcome the construction noise, both students and teachers struggled to hear and learn in the classroom.

The Lincoln Northeast Sertoma Club of Lincoln, Nebraska, quickly began to realize the severity of this problem and without hesitation became the solution.

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Sertoma Provides Students with Educational Resources in New Mexico

Let’s face it; graduating from college can be stressful. So, what makes a college student successful and ready to conquer the next set of challenges?  Is it having knowledgeable teachers, excelling at intensified course work, or travelling to gain hands on experience?

One could argue that there are multiple factors that play a pivotal role in whether or not a student graduates feeling ready for the intimidating, and inevitable “real world.”

The Las Cruces Sertoma Club of Las Cruces, New Mexico, realized that students truly need a variety of resources and experiences in order to feel properly prepared.

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Sertoma’s Donation Improves Communication in South Carolina Community

Social events, both small and large, help create a sense of belonging and unity within communities. We may not always realize it, but at times, individuals with hearing loss can feel isolated, or left out during social events simply because of communication limitations.

Approximately 20% of Americans have hearing loss, and even those with hearing aids are not always able to understand or hear speech effectively in large group settings.

In order to compensate, and break down these communication barriers, specific types of technology called “hearing looping systems” are now being implemented into public vicinities to accommodate those that have hearing loss.

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Sertoma Aids in Providing Animal Assistance

What would life be like if you were unable to hear the telephone ring, a doorbell, or even an emergency alarm? For some, this is a not a simple “what if” question. Instead, it is a reality, and a challenging obstacle that is faced daily.

International Hearing Dog Inc (IHDI) is an organization that strives to improve the quality of life for individuals that are in need of various types of daily and emergency assistance.

IHDI rescues shelter dogs, and then trains the canines to fit the customized needs of individuals with hearing loss, at no cost.

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Sertoma Scholarship Winner Hears His True Calling

As Jackson Maddox showcased his acting skills at Keokuk High School in Keokuk, Iowa, his nervous butterflies began to flutter rapidly. Stage fright, and opening night jitters tend to be relatively common and natural feelings for performers.

Ideally, all performers want to see their long hours of preparation and hard work shine through on show night. Jackson, despite his significant hearing loss, and nerves, was always determined to do his absolute best on stage regardless of the circumstances.

His ambitious personality, and determination, eventually became the biggest reasons why Jackson Maddox was selected to receive the Hard of Hearing Deaf Scholarship from Sertoma in 2012-2013.

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Sertoma Members Enhance Elementary Education

Can you imagine going to school and not being able to communicate effectively with your teacher? It would be extremely challenging, frustrating and discouraging to try and learn, correct? But what if a group of people made it so that you would never have to worry about facing any unexpected communication barriers ever again?

Generosity goes a long way. The members of the High Noon Sertoma Club were able to take one elementary school’s class dream, and turn it into an incredible life changing reality.

Elementary school teacher SueAnn Gurwell had a significant problem that needed to be addressed.

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I’m Proud to Be a Sertoman

At this year’s annual Convention, we asked our members to share their Sertoma stories. The people they’ve helped, relationships they’ve made, and the lives they’ve changed. The result was two days of inspirational storytelling and a great many tears of joy.

When you help others, your life is affected as well. Through these stories our members painted of picture of why they are proud to be a Sertoman.

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I Can Make a Difference

Ask a Sertoman to share their most rewarding experience as a member of our organization and get this response: Just one story? As if we could stop at one.

At this year’s annual Convention, we asked our members to share their Sertoma stories. The people they’ve helped, relationships they’ve made, and the lives they’ve changed. The result was two days of inspirational storytelling and a great many tears of joy.

Get a glimpse of just a few of these stories, and watch for many more to come.

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Little Acts Lead to Big Impact

Samantha Freer – a proud Sertoman and member of P.L.A.Y. Sertoma Club of Joplin – saw the Hearing Aid Donation project as an opportunity to honor her grandpa, Sam McCoun, a selfless individual who always wanted to help others. Samantha shared that when she asked her grandma for her grandpa’s hearing aid to recycle, her grandma cried said that would be wonderful and grandpa would think that would be great. I know without a doubt he is super happy to be helping someone, even after his passing.

AND because Samantha shared her story with the nursing home,

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As the Ears Go By: Part 3

A Mild Reception

The third in a series on one man’s experience in getting a cochlear implant

Well, come Christmas, I’ll have had my cochlear implant activated a full six months Right off the bat, I’ll answer the question asked most, “No, I don’t understand speech through my implant alone yet”. I’m in no way bummed and pretty much anticipated this result at this time. Testing with the audiologist has shown a marked improvement in speech understanding in environments with competing sounds. Deb, my wife has verified this, so it is therefore accurate. I hadn’t noticed.

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As the Ears Go By: Part 2

Plugged In, But Not Clued In

The second in a 3-part series on one man’s experience in getting a cochlear implant.

Well folks, it’s clear I have issues with written assignment deadlines. You needn’t take my word for it, since I have dozens of educators who will vouch for me. But enough groveling, because I have big news to announce. I have an installed cochlear implant! I had the surgery to install the implant at Boys Town National Research Hospital in Omaha, NE, June 16th.

I had to report to the hospital at 8:20 a.m.

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As the Ears Go By: Part 1

One Man’s Search for Better Reception

The first in a 3-part series on one man’s experience in getting a cochlear implant.

My name is Jim Sharrick, and I am very hard of hearing. A year ago, I came to the conclusion that I would get a cochlear implant. It was not a sudden decision, and not my first step in dealing with my hearing loss. Mine is not a unique story, but one that I hope will be of interest to those facing, or the family of those facing similar decisions.  Like any journey in life,

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