Sertoma News Category

You Make a Difference. Let’s Talk About It!

My Sertoma friends,

I was asked to write this note to provide some thoughts and actions that my club and I have taken to better market and publicize Sertoma in our county, city and state. I hope that my personal experience and insight can help you and your club build a stronger presence in your community.

I do not simply accept hearing, “Sertoma is the best-kept secret.” During my travels as your president in 2016-17, I saw all of the wonderful work you do in your communities. I am proud of it, and I know you are too.

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IRS Deadlines and Forms. Here’s What You Need to Know!

Did you know that your club is required to file a form 990 with the IRS each year? The IRS has three versions, and the form that you will use is based upon your club’s gross income.

990 Filing Thresholds
  • Gross Income < $50,000   990-N
  • Gross Income < $200,000 and Gross Assets < $500,000   990-EZ
  • Gross Income $200,000 and Gross Assets $500,000   990

For the majority of clubs (if your fiscal year begins July 1) then your filing is due November 15. Your club’s deadline ultimately depends on your fiscal year.

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A Proud Partnership

Service is in our name. Service to others. Service to our communities. I grew up in a home built on service to friends, neighbors, strangers or anyone who might need a little boost. Through Boy Scouts, our church, etc., we lived a much fuller life through volunteerism. I believe that volunteerism is the price we pay for the space we occupy!

We tried to make somebody’s day or life a bit better as often as we could. At a young age, I discovered that I could make a difference for others, and I felt better because of it!

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Is Your Event Covered?

Does your club have an event coming up? To keep you and your attendees protected, be sure to check out the newest updates to Sertoma’s insurance manual.

Please remember that your event is not covered unless properly reported to the insurance company 30 days in advance. If your club is hosting an event with over 2,500 attendees, be sure to review the updated program and forms here.

If you have questions about Sertoma’s insurance manual or your event, please contact Terri McClaskey, our Account Executive at Lockton Companies. She can be reached directly at 816.960.9241.

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Join the Sertoma Board!

Were you born to be a leader? Are you driven and determined to build a stronger future for Sertoma? If the answer is yes, then we want you to join our Sertoma team.

The Sertoma Board of Directors are seeking candidates for Director at Large (three-year term) and Junior Vice President. To apply, please send in a bio and high resolution electronic photo to Aaron Ensminger at

If you would like to be featured in the winter Sertoman magazine, please submit your bio and photo to Aaron by December 2. In order to be included on the ballot,

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Change is Good!

As a new Mission Specialist, I’m thankful for this opportunity to highlight a few of my favorite upgrades to our Sertoma Annual Fund. When I first learned that there were changes to the Annual Fund donation levels my initial reaction was, ‘Oh no, more changes?’ I was pleasantly surprised, however, to learn that the changes included a few new affordable levels of monetary giving as well as recognition for giving on a larger level including hosting a CELEBRATE SOUND® event. 

First, let me talk about the new Sustaining Member level.  Think of a membership donation to your local non-profit TV or radio station during their annual pledge drive,

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Welcome to Sertoma, Brandi!

Brandi McGrath Kong is Sertoma’s newest team member and Member Services Manager!

In this membership focused position, she will be responsible for developing strategic initiatives and programs focused on membership recruitment, retention, engagement, club building and more. In addition, she will serve as the primary liaison to the Training Specialists.

In total, Brandi brings 15 years of nonprofit management experience, with an emphasis in membership and communications to our organization.

Before beginning her Sertoma journey, she studied public relations at the University of Central Missouri, and spent nearly ten years working at the National Auctioneers Association (NAA).

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Board Actions, August 2019

At their August 2019 meeting, the Sertoma Board of Directors took the following actions:

  • Cheryl Cherny was approved as the Sertoma representative on the Hearing Charities of America Board.
    • Discussion: The HCOA Board has one member designated as the Sertoma Representative, to serve as a liaison between the two organizations. While there are other Sertomans on HCOA’s board, Ms. Cherny will serve as the official Sertoma representative this year.
  • The Board amended the Policy Statements, Article III, Section C, Paragraph 5 to read: Any member removed by the Board of Directors or members shall be ineligible for holding a National office for a period of 10 years from date of removal.

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Happy New Year!

It’s a new year here at Sertoma, and I’d wager I’m more excited than anyone in Sertoma about 2019-20. Heck, the next few weeks are going to be exciting ones!

Let’s start with today: I’m writing this from a plane on my way to another organization’s conference, where I’ve got a full day of meetings with fundraising professionals who will be helping us develop training modules on fundraising events and donor psychology that you can use in your clubs.

In just a few short weeks, your Sertoma Board of Directors will be in Kansas City for my first planning meeting.

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Annual Fund Changes

We are excited about the changes the Board has made to the 2019-2020 Annual Fund recognition levels!  With the exception of the Fellow Level change last year, there have been no changes since the 1960s.  This means that the 100% club gift of $25 per member given in the 1960s is now equivalent to $200 today.

One of the biggest changes you may notice is that a new recognition level of $250 called the Patron level has been added. This level is now available to both clubs and individuals. For individuals, the gift giving level ranges between $250 and $499,

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New Officers

It’s a new year in Sertoma, which means we have new officers. View the full list below! To contact your national leaders or fellow volunteers, please use our member directory located here.

2019-2020 National Officers

President:  John Kelly, Lillington, North Carolina
President Elect:  Joy Newman, Tucson, Arizona
Senior Vice President:  Darryl Ching, Honolulu, Hawaii
Junior Vice President:  Gretchen Nielsen, Wichita Falls, Texas
Treasurer:  Bea Gabany, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
Secretary:  Aaron Ensminger, Kansas City, Missouri

Directors at Large

Caleb Kershaw, Rembert, South Carolina
Susan Love, Springfield, Missouri
Walter “Chuck” Wilson,

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Four Club Awards are Available

Is your club in good standing? Have you encouraged your community to take an interest in Sertoma’s programs or hearing health? If so, there’s a good chance your club could be eligible for one or more of Sertoma’s prestigious club awards.

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Introductions and Exciting Times!

Good evening! (At least, it’s evening as I write this!) After a little over a month getting to know the staff, the members who were at convention, and learning as much as I can about Sertoma and Hearing Charities of America, I’d like to take a minute to officially say hello and tell you something about myself!

First, professionally: I’m coming to you most recently from the National Auctioneers Association, where I served as Director of Education for six years. It was a fantastic experience with a great organization! NAA is a membership based professional organization that provides education,

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2019 Convention Recap

Convention had no shortage of energy, passion or enthusiasm this year! The future of the organization is brighter than ever as we continue working on the implementation of Vision 2020.

Thank you to everyone who traveled and participated this year. We hope to see your smiling faces again soon. For a quick recap of important news and announcements, please see below.

Award Winners

(* indicates national winner)

Sertoman of the Year
Doug Suereth – Allegheny Canada
*Donald Bartelmay – Atlantic Coast
Sara Krumme – Great Lakes
Douglas English – Great Plains
Stephanie Bunten – Heart of America
Patricia ‘Pat’ White – Mountain West
Bill Clark – Southeastern/Caribbean

Service to Mankind
Mickey Minnich – Allegheny Canada
Jean Tulli – Atlantic Coast
Marci Harbage – Great Lakes
Craig McMillan – Great Plains
Jerry Hudgins – Heart of America
Sister Libby Fernandez – Mountain West
*Wade Thomas – Southeastern/Caribbean

New Leadership Introductions

National Board
President: John Kelly,

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Welcome to Sertoma!

We are excited to announce that Aaron Ensminger will be the new Executive Director of Sertoma Inc., and Hearing Charities of America (HCOA). Aaron is a proud native of Kansas City, Missouri, and will begin his Sertoma journey and new role on Monday, April 15, 2019.

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Resolution Committee’s Update

Adopted by the Sertoma Board on February 7, 2019

At the February Board meeting held by a conference call, the Resolution Committee reported their recommendations to the full Board.  The Board adopted the recommendations of the committee.  Of the six resolutions presented prior to the Resolution Committee meeting, the following items came from members and clubs during the Region meetings in the fall of 2018.

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Request Your Club Logo!

Sertoma. Just saying the name of our wonderful organization brings up a plethora of feelings. Pride felt by individual members—Sertomans to their core; a sense of celebration by clubs as they review the successful projects completed within their communities; headquarters staff who feel honored each day to be an integral part of such a worthwhile organization.

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Online Member Management Update

As everyone has probably read by now, a new process is in place for club officers to use for club member management, and for our national volunteers to request information for their assigned areas. After more than a year of working with the developer of the 10-year-old custom module, it was clear that this change to the previous member management module and process was necessary…

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Please Help Us Find Judges!

Sertoma and Hearing Charities of America (HCOA) strives to improve the quality of life for those impacted by hearing loss.  Sertoma’s Adopt-an-Agency program is one way it does so, because it is a network of hearing health organizations that share the same mission and goals.

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Spread the Gift of Sound!

What do you see when you look out your window or step through your door? Is it so familiar that beauty and adventure no longer catch your attention? Is opportunity waiting, yet going unrecognized?

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Find a Club and Take a Selfie!

Whether the goal is growing membership, raising funds for service-related endeavors, marketing an event, or finding new connections within your local community, it has become clear in recent years that a solid web presence is vital. This is true for Sertoma at the national level, the club level, and even at the member level.

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Member Management Module Update

Sertoma club officers and national volunteers,

Previously, we shared with you that the incremental progress of normal computer upgrades and updates were affecting Sertoma’s 10-year-old custom member management module. We worked with the developers at Blackbaud for more than a year on this project…

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Club Award Winners

We’d like to congratulate all of the clubs who applied, qualified and received awards. Fantastic work! Join us in congratulating the following winners.

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The Beginning of Vision 2020

There’s a lot of rumor and speculation about the new Vision 2020 strategy. Some of it is true, some of it is not. The best way to know the truth is to read what comes directly from Sertoma, or even better, pick up the phone or send an email to any Board member. But in 40 words or less, let’s get to the heart of the matter.

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Spring Solicitation Mail Correction

Attention clubs and treasurers,

We sincerely apologize for the miscommunication that has recently occurred. The spring club solicitation letters that were mailed out in late March were meant for the clubs who have NOT given within the last few years.

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Don’t Forget to Update Your Browser!

For anyone who  uses a computer,  tablet, or smart phone, it is no surprise that change is a constant occurrence. Security changes are probably one of the most important parts that affect our favorite programs, apps, websites, and browsers. Some changes occur without notice, but other changes are not so stealthy.

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Helping Our Heroes Hear

If you could give an invaluable gift to someone who puts their life on the line for you every day, what would it be?

The Audiology Department at Kansas University Medical Center (KUMED) took some time to research the needs of local law enforcement officers in their community. The department soon realized that the special gift they could provide was enhanced communication through customized radio ear molds.

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The Dues Debate

Most of us would probably like to have dues remain where they are, but then again, most of us would probably prefer to not make a car payment or take a trip to the grocery store. Sadly, during the past decade cost increases have continued to add up while our membership has not. The result is growing expenses and shrinking revenues.

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How to Grow New Relationships

One of the best ways to create new relationships and spark change is by introducing Sertoma’s programs to the individuals in your community. By sharing what we do, you can better connect with others and engage them in our mission to make a difference.

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Book Your Hotel Room Early for Convention

Sertoma’s National Convention will be held at the Kauffman Foundation February 1-3, 2018. The host hotel will be the Holiday Inn Country Club Plaza located on East 45th Street in Kansas City, Missouri 64111. Are you ready to book your room early at a discounted rate of $99?

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Building Bridges and Increasing Growth

Building bridges defines the work we need to secure the future of Sertoma. Our future requires us to build bridges in new communities. We must engage people and organizations in new ways to develop the volunteers, donors and members to expand our hearing health mission. Our future requires us to build a bridge to our current members and clubs, so that we can support their work to develop the human and financial resources needed to expand their local sponsorships. This is the work we have undertaken in our Vision 2020 Plan.

To see that happen, there is one more bridge we must build.

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Hear Us Out – Here’s Why You Need CELEBRATE SOUND!

Want to be a part of an amazing national fund and awareness-raising event that helps promote hearing health in our communities? Join Sertoma in giving the gift of sound. Host a CELEBRATE SOUND Don’t Walk in Silence® event today!

CELEBRATE SOUND is a turnkey fundraising project that allows your community to come together to raise funds and awareness for your organization and Sertoma. With more than 50 million people living with hearing loss, it is critical to educate our communities on issues like noise-induced hearing loss.

When you partner with Sertoma,

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Make Some Noise for Hearing Health!

Did you know that individuals with healthy hearing are less likely to develop or experience heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, depression and social isolation? Hearing plays a significant role in affecting a person’s mood, overall well-being and everyday life. It is arguably one of the body’s most important senses!

Approximately 52 million Americans have hearing loss, and this staggering number is increasing quickly. In the world, it is estimated that around 360 million men, women and children are affected, and unfortunately, hearing loss is permanent.

What will you do during May Better Hearing and Speech Month to help bring attention to the important issue of hearing health?

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2017 Convention Follow Up

It was great seeing everyone at Convention this year. For those who missed out, don’t worry, we’ll catch you up on a few key details!  Find out who joined the Board(s) and won some of the year’s biggest awards.

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Sertoma Scholarships Available

Each year, Sertoma provides 100 scholarships through our Deaf and Hard of Hearing and Communicative Disorders scholarships. These scholarships aid students who are continuing their education, and because of the financial support of donors like you, we are able to continue our vision of creating communities of change.

The Communicative Disorders scholarship is open to all full-time audiology or speech-language pathology graduate students in the United States. March 31 is the deadline for all Communicative Disorders scholarship applications, and each scholarship is worth $1,000. Applicants may reapply each year as long as they meet the scholarship requirements. Click here to learn more about the Communicative Disorders scholarship.

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International Week of Service

Join us for the International Week of Service on March 25-31; a fantastic partnership opportunity that brings service clubs together to better their communities! Simply invite members from another service club organization to take part in your club’s pre-existing event that week, or team up and host an event together!

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Sertoma Elections 2017

Sertoma elections will be held in March to determine the roles of Sertoma Vice President and Director at Large.  Online member voting will be available March 31 – April 9. Chapter voting ballots will be mailed out February 21, and must be postmarked on or before April 3.

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The Incredible Impact of the Annual Fund

Have you ever wondered what the Annual Fund money does? It allows our National Affiliates to make a positive impact on daily basis. Without your support to the Annual Fund, this would not be possible.

Over the past decade, our Adopt-An-Agency National Affiliates have received hundreds of dollars to continue and improve hearing health in their community.

Did you know that Sertoma Headquarters gave out over $100,000 in Community Grants to 20 National Affiliates last year? Sertoma has given out over one million dollars in Community Grants over the last decade, and it is through your donation to the Annual Fund that you continue the mission of Sertoma throughout communities across the country.

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2017 Club Development Workshops

The Secret to Recruiting and Retaining Members, Volunteers and Donors

It’s not a secret, really. All that is involved is understanding three simple principles, and these will allow you to overcome the barriers to people’s time and money.

Why – People want to know the difference their time and money
will make – it has to be important to them. So, the difference that
your club makes in the community has to be clear, meaningful
and measureable.

Engaging Communication – People spend a lot of time today
screening out communication.

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Benefits of the Adopt-an-Agency Program

The Adopt-An-Agency program establishes a relationship between Sertoma and a nonprofit hearing and speech facility. It is a practical way for a club to help a local organization and promote Sertoma’s national mission

Sertoma’s partnership with these agencies, known as National Affiliates, expands awareness in the community to the pervasiveness of communicative disorders and the resulting impact on the lives of individuals and their families.

Sertoma Affiliates must be a 501(C)3 or tax status equivalent, including schools or school districts or departments, colleges or universities that provide direct services, education or research related to helping those with communicative disorders.

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Have You Heard About #GivingTuesday?

#GivingTuesday is widely known as the global day of “giving” and is an online movement designed to encourage unity and generosity.

It is a day that is celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, and will take place this year on November 29, 2016. Mark your calendars now!

#GivingTuesday helps kick off the charitable season through the use of social media outlets, and is a national movement that recognizes the importance of helping others.

This year, you can help #LendAHearingHand by donating to Sertoma’s Annual Fund, which will help support our hearing health mission by providing national grants and scholarships.

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2016-2017 Sertoma News and Events

Sertoma Board Seeking New Positions
The Sertoma Board is currently seeking a Treasurer,  Jr. Vice President and Director at Large for the 2017-2018 year.

All applications and position related questions will need to be emailed to the Executive Director, Steven Murphy, by Nov. 30 at

The treasurer position will be appointed for a two-year term, and will have the ability to be reappointed for one successive term. Please see the qualifications below.

Treasurer Qualifications
The appointee must be a member of  Sertoma in good standing and has demonstrated experience and skills related to reading and understanding,

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Building Awareness One Gift at a Time

The Annual Fund creates opportunities for Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Communicative Disorders students by providing financial assistance through scholarships. The Annual Fund also provides affiliates of the Adopt-An-Agency program with the opportunity to attend professional conferences through Sertoma’s Professional Education Grant.

Your contribution to the Annual Fund allows our scholarship recipients and affiliates to continue their education and the work necessary to enhance communities nationwide.

If your club plans on being a 100% Early Bird Club, the cost is $25 per person, and this payment must be received by December 1st to qualify. Please submit your current club roster with the donation.

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Three Simple Ways to Support the Hearing Aid Project

Awareness of the Hearing Aid Project is growing across the nation, and you or your club can join our community efforts through: Getting, Giving and Helping.

Get– refer low income individuals in your area to the project who are in need of hearing aids. We will help connect them with their state resources first, and then to the Hearing Aid Project if their local resources are unable to help.

Give– donate hearing aids or establish hearing aid collection centers in your community

Help– carry out an online personal fundraiser, recruit audiologists to participate, and/or host a CELEBRATE SOUND event to benefit the project

Email and let us help you or your club get involved in the National Hearing Aid Project!

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Club Tax and Legal Information

Each year, every club must report on its gross revenues raised by filing a Form 990 with the IRS. If the form is not filed, the club will lose its 501(c)(3) status as a charity and will no longer be able to legally raise revenue. One of three variations on the form must be used, depending on how much money the club raised during the year. Those forms are as follows:

  • Form 990, for clubs with gross revenues raised in excess of $200,000
  • Form 990-EZ, for clubs with gross revenues raised between $50,000 and $200,000
  • Form 990-N,

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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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2015-2016 Club Award Winners

We’d like to congratulate all of the Sertoma Clubs who qualified and received club awards this year. Nice job! If you didn’t win this year, you can still apply and become a recipient in 2016-2017.

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How to Support the National Hearing Aid Project

The mission of the National Hearing Aid Project is to provide access to hearing aids and related hearing health services to those that otherwise could not afford them. By becoming a collection center, establishing collection centers in your community, or doing an online fundraiser, your club can help us fulfill this mission.

Become a Collection Center:
Collected hearings aids of any age or condition will go directly to our Hearing Aid Bank where they will be put into an inventory for use by audiologists who have agreed to provide clinical services to recipients of the project. Sertoma headquarters can supply your clubs with brochures that give information about how to donate aids to us,

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New Internal Marketing Employee at Sertoma

Sertoma Inc. is very excited to announce that it has added a new addition to the office. Chris Stibbs, a native of Omaha, Nebraska, has stepped in as the new Mission Development Officer of Internal Marketing.

Chris grew up in Omaha, but attended undergraduate school at Rockhurst University. During his time at Rockhurst, Chris worked as a Women’s Advocate at Newhouse Shelter, a local domestic violence shelter in Kansas City. He also served as a Program Leader for Girl Scouts of Northeast Kansas/Northwest Missouri, as well as a development intern for the PKD Foundation. Chris currently serves as a Board Member for Foundation4 Domestic Violence Prevention and as a member of the New Leaders Council for Newhouse.

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How to Set up a Hearing Aid Collection Center

Is your Sertoma Club looking to become a part of the National Hearing Aid Project? If so, your club can participate with a simple grassroots activity that will help us collect hearing aids of any age or condition to be refurbished and given to eligible recipients of the Hearing Aid Project.

The mission of this project is to provide access to hearing aids and related hearing health services to those that otherwise could not afford them. Setting up collection centers across the country will ensure hearing aids no longer being used will not go to waste, and can continue to improve someone’s quality of life.

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Welcome to Our New Affiliates!

OMC Regional Foundation & OPHIR School-Deaf & Hard of Hearing Program are the two newest Affiliates. Affiliates are eligible to apply for Community Grants and Professional Education Grants. To find out more information about the Adopt-An-Agency program click here:

OMC Regional Foundation whose mission is to “advocate for and support Olmsted Medical Center and to assist it in funding quality healthcare services and education in the communities it serves”.  The Olmstead Medical Center Audiology Department evaluates, diagnoses, and treats hearing and balance disorders, for all ages.  No patient is ever ‘too young’ or ‘too old’.

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Hearing Aid Collection Centers

We’d like to express our appreciation to the individuals that have donated recycled hearing aids, and the clubs that have set up collection centers for the Hearing Aid Project.  These gifts directly help those in need of a hearing aid, or provide the necessary parts to fix an aid that someone relies on every day.  Thank you for helping us share the joy of hearing!

To learn how easy it is to donate a hearing aid, please visit:

Thank you to the following Sertoma Clubs that have helped us establish collection centers across the country:

Marion County Sertoma Club

Honolulu Sertoma Club

Kansas City Sertoma Club

The Sertoma Club of Bradenton,

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2016 Sertoma Candidate Forum

Recording of the 2016 Sertoma Candidate Forum that took place on February 9, 2016. Sertoma members were invited to join us for a town hall style discussion that provided every member with the opportunity to hear the candidates for the Sertoma National Board answer the questions that mattered most to you.

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What’s Next for Service Clubs?

I had the great pleasure of attending the Service Clubs Leaders Convention (SCLC) in Biloxi, Mississippi in November. Sertoma President Debby Larsen, Executive Director Steve Murphy and I were attendees. Sertoma and Ambucs were hosting this event and so staff in attendance included Holly Walls, Nick Magana and Bridget Almond. Sixty leaders from service clubs throughout the world were in attendance. These organizations represented over 4 million volunteers. I congratulate Steve and staff for a well-organized convention, we were busy from morning to night, learning and sharing ideas on how to more efficiently manage our organizations and make them more effective,

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Tale of Two Clubs

It was the best of times, and the worst of times. Or so it would have seemed to a casual observer at the Service Clubs Leaders Conference this past week.

There were the tales of clubs struggling with aging members, slipping engagement, and a lack of interest in clubs by many, including the most commonly discussed group, “Millennials.” Yet there were also discussions of new clubs flourishing in unexpected ways: younger people are engaging, and clubs are becoming a vital force in the life of their communities and their members.

How is it that we have such divergent tales of service clubs?

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#GivingTuesday 2015 is just around the corner, and Sertoma, Inc. is participating at the national level with a call to support the Annual Fund. With this first year of participation in #GivingTuesday, we are testing the waters and will share what we learn about running a #GivingTuesday campaign with our clubs. Our hope is that clubs will become involved with future #GivingTuesday events and will use their own #GivingTuesday campaigns as a way to tell their stories and more deeply connect with their communities, while also raising funds and awareness about their work.

We will be using the hashtag #SertomaListens for our Annual Fund campaign.

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Service to Mankind & Sertoman of the Year

As we approach the fourth quarter of Sertoma it is time to celebrate with those in your club and community who have distinguished themselves in service to others. In other words, it is time to select a club Service to Mankind recipient and Sertoman of the Year. What better way to recognize the accomplishments of others by participating in this annual recognition process.

If you haven’t started, appoint a committee and seek out nominations from your area for those worthy of receiving your club’s Service to Mankind Award. You can find nominations for the award from your community.

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What Does Our Annual Fund Fund?

Every year we donate to the United Way, the Cancer Society, Girls Scouts, Boy Scouts, and the list goes on and on.  Do you ask them where the money is going?  I would guess to say that you do not.  You believe that it is going to a necessary and worthy cause.  Well Sertoma has a worthy cause and it is called our Sertoma Annual Fund.  There are many questions out there regarding this fund and we have volunteers who help us educate Sertomans.  I hope that each of your clubs ask the Fundraising District Representative (FDR) to attend one of your meetings and have this individual as your guest speaker.

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