A Colorful Kind of Celebration

June 20, 2017

An array of bright electric colors swirled in the air as students took part in a unique charitable event to raise money and awareness for hearing health.

The communication disorders and sciences students at the State University of New York College (SUNY) in Cortland, New York, teamed up with Vestal Sertoma Club to host a one-of-a-kind CELEBRATE SOUND event.

CELEBRATE SOUND Don’t Walk in Silence® is Sertoma’s national fund- and awareness-raising event created to help members, clubs and national affiliates promote hearing health in their communities.

This colorful collaboration was held in memory of Sertoman Pat Aylward, the former president of the Vestal Sertoma Club. She was incredibly active within Sertoma and was passionate about helping her community. She was also the first person who introduced CELEBRATE SOUND to the students.

Michael Pitcher, a professional audiologist and full time lecturer at the University for 17 years, said that Pat was a mentor and inspiration.

“She was instrumental and tireless. Well respected by all,” Michael said. “We didn’t have her help this year, and we wanted to do something extra special in her name. She was a champion for Sertoma’s cause and fought for all.”

The students hosted their first CELEBRATE SOUND event in 2015 and had a fantastic experience. From that moment, the goal was to host an event biannually with the help of Sertoma. This year, many Sertoma Clubs from the area, including the Endicott and Afton Sertoma Clubs came out to support the students.

According to Michael, the event’s theme this year was uncertain, but ultimately came together like the “perfect storm.” Thanks to the Student Activities Board, the students received the necessary funding to partner with Color My College, and thus the color run was created!

The event took place April 23 at 10 a.m. and was a huge success! Approximately 170 people crossed the finish line wearing a display of bright colors, and even brighter smiles.

Michael said his favorite part of the day was seeing the participants laugh while covered in rainbow colors.

“Their smiles alone showed that it was a successful event,” he said.  “It felt really good to know we provided a positive and fun experience.”

In total, the event raised $10,710. SUNY will use their portion from the event to purchase new equipment such as iPads, software and new tablet technology for the students to use in their campus clinical labs. The remaining funds will be used to support Sertoma’s national hearing health grants and scholarships.

Michael concluded by saying that he was incredibly proud of the students and thankful for the help of Sertoma in making the event an overall success. “It’s important to take part in professional and philanthropic services,” he said. “We want to make a difference in as many ways as we can. We did that, and we will continue to.”

If you are interested in learning more about the CELEBRATE SOUND opportunities available to your club, school or community we’d love to help plan it!

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