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President’s Message – A new chapter for Quota

We are about to start a new chapter for Quota. It is one that embodies our spirit, our cause and the lives of others. We can do this.

Over the next month or so, we’ll be launching a new approach to our mission. One that is created by what we do, why we do it and the outcome we want. It includes other people who may not have the same dedicated passion as we do about the deaf and hard of hearing, but they are looking for some new knowledge, experiences and opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Many of you have ‘grown up’ with Quota. Some of the people you have admired have left our Club and those mentors are still available to you now as friends you see at social events. But the spark continues in all of us to move forward to let the next generation know that we have so much more to give. You have kindled the fire for so many years and now it’s time for us to build a new fire.

Several other deaf/hard of hearing associations have recently folded. But we’re not. We’re going to collect people with the skills, time and energy to assist in our mission. We’re going to tap into new populations with new mind sets to help us reach the community we serve. We’re going to invite them to lifelong learning.

With volunteers as our partners, we can teach, mentor, enlighten, encourage and learn from each other. Not in a formal manner, like a classroom, but in groups and teams with a problem to solve. Each one of us has something to share, teach and inspire. Each one of us uses our talents and skills every single day. Let’s share what we know.

One of the biggest reasons people don’t want to volunteer is that they feel like they don’t get to use their skills. By golly, we have a place for them on our team!

Every day I learn something new. Something about a Club member, something about the deaf community, something I need to improve about myself.
That’s what keeps me going for more.

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“I’m proud of my language” — Northview High School students raise money to fly to Gallaudet University

The students have two months left to raise enough money to visit Gallaudet University April 29. Part of their trip is funded by the Northview Education Foundation and a grant from the Grand Rapids Hearing Loss Association. The rest of the trip’s cost is left up to the GoFundMe page their teacher started.

The way these high schoolers communicate, between American Sign Language and English, along with how motivated they are to learn more, is inspirational.

“I’m proud of my language,” said Chase Spencer, Northview sophomore. “I’m proud of ASL, I’m proud of the way I communicate.”

Chase was born in Uzbekistan. When he was 11-years-old, he moved to the United States and started to learn English and ASL.

“My family all of them can hear, I’m the only deaf person in my family,” said Alexandria Martinez.

Alexandria said as she grew up, she learned how to read lips at home. Now she, Chase, and their classmates said, from being on sports teams to biology class with their hearing peers, they are learning and building their English skills at a fast pace.

“The deaf kids can do what the hearing kids can do”: that was the resounding message from these students.

They have a lot of support at Northview: on a daily basis there are several ASL interpreters, teachers, and a program director just in their home classroom. However, at Gallaudet University in Washington D.C., everybody signs.

“Language! They use my language,” said Chase. “They use ASL and sign, and I can learn in my own language. It will be so much better for me.”

After their trip set for April 29, several Northview students said they hope to return there as a college students once they graduate.

“Gallaudet is really a place for the deaf community,” said Megan Ward, Northview teacher for the deaf. “It’s a place where people who are deaf belong. So this is a great opportunity for them to go and experience a world that was created just for them.”

When each student boards their plane come April, they will be one step closer to their future.

“I’m thinking about working in immigration, on the border of Mexico, especially as it relates to deaf people; maybe setting up a home and a school,” said Alexandria

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Gov. Rick Snyder makes appointments to Advisory Council on Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing

Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015

LANSING, Mich.– Gov. Rick Snyder today announced the appointments of Elizabeth Bystrycki, of Otsego, Jill Gaus, of Jackson, Miriam Horwitz, of Huntington Woods, and Jeannette Johnson, of Grand Rapids, to the Advisory Council on Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing.

The 13-member council, housed within the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, advises the department on matters pertaining to deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing persons.

“These individuals bring years of valuable experience to this council,” said Snyder. “I am confident their work will continue to support Michigan’s deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing citizens.”

Bystrycki is former chair of the conference committee of the Michigan Deaf Association. She studied at Gallaudet University. Bystrycki represents deaf or hard of hearing persons and replaces Jamie Maes-Eischen.

Gaus is a consultant with DeafBlind Central. She is also an instructor at Lansing Community College and previously taught at Michigan State University. Gaus has experience as a licensed practical nurse. She represents deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing persons and replaces Odessa Carter. Gaus is also appointed as chair of the Council.

Horwitz is an interpreter with English and ASL Community Interpreting, and has more than 10 years of interpreting experience. She earned a bachelor’s degree in musical theatre and education from American University, and a master’s degree of interpretation from Gallaudet University. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in interpretation, also from Gallaudet University. She represents individuals knowledgeable in the field of deafness and replaces Laura Scott.

Johnson is the development director for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services in Grand Rapids. She also has experience with the National Association of the Deaf and Mental Health Services for the Deaf. Johnson holds a bachelor’s degree in public and nonprofit administration from Grand Valley State University. She will represent deaf or hard of hearing persons and replaces Brenda Neubeck.

Appointees will serve three-year terms expiring Jan. 18, 2018. Their appointments are not subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.

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Save the Date – 50/50 Raffle Drawing- April 16!

One of our Club’s largest fundraisers – our annual 50/50 raffle – is coming up in a couple of months! Tickets will go on sale  in March and the drawing for the winner will be held at our meeting on April 16, 2015.

YOU could be the lucky winner! (You do not have to be present to win.) Proceeds from the raffle help us in our service to the deaf and hard of hearing community. So we need a successful raffle!

Contact us if you would like to purchase tickets – and watch for more details coming soon.

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Valentine’s Day Fun!

On February 13th, Quotarians Pat and Pam helped students in Miss Cindy’s classroom make special Valentine’s for their parents. The students attend school at the Grand Rapids Oral Deaf Program located at Ken-O-Sha School, a program of the Grand Rapids Public Schools.  It was hard to determine who had more fun, the students or the Quotarians!

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Child Care Needed for Northview Total Communications Program event – February 27

On of Quota’s community partners, Northview Total Communications Program, is hosting a Family Night on Feb. 27th for teachers, students and parents to participate.

Here’s what’s happening!

On Friday, February 27th our D/HH Program is hosting a family night. We are bringing in a speaker who is a Deaf psychologist to talk about raising healthy Deaf children. We are very excited! I am looking for volunteers to help with the kids, as we provide “daycare” so families can attend. The times we would need would be about 5:30-7:30. The presentation is from 6:00-7:00, but parents come early to drop off their kids and socialize – same for at the end. Also sometimes volunteers will bring crafts or activities – definitely not a requirement, but it’s always welcome!

If you would like to join in, please email Leah Kurlenda (LKurlenda@nvps.net).

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Quota Fund/Friend Raisers for 2015

Quota is working hard to raise funds that will be used to help the deaf and hard of hearing and make a difference in the lives of many people in our community.

Our Fin/Fun committee has proposed three major 2015 fundraisers for Quota this year. Planning for the first one is already underway. Our popular ‘Show Me the Money” 50/50 raffle is back!  Chair Pam H. has applied for the raffle license and is busy making plans with her committee. Ticket sales will start on March 19 and continue until April 16 when a winning ticket will be drawn at our annual Installation Banquet. We hope all members and Quota friends will support this great event by buying tickets.  You never know–one of you might be the big winner this year!!

Our annual Duck Walk will be held in September. Co-chairs Martha H. and Sandi A. have plans for some new and exciting changes this year. And our final major fundraiser will be our annual Barnes & Noble Book Fair which will be held in November. Chairs Lisa B. and Pat C. are sure to have fun things planned. So watch the blog for more details as planning begins!

Please remember that Koeze’s products can be purchased year-round and the proceeds help us fund our service projects. Valentine’s Day is a great time for a Koeze treat.

And finally, Amazon Smile is always a great way to help out by just hitting a key on your computer. Visit www.smile.amazon.com, select Quota Grand Rapids Charitable Foundation as your chosen charity and a portion of all your Amazon purchases will help us help others.

Your support in all fundraising endeavors is much appreciated! Leave a message for us if you would like to join in the fun!

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Quota’s Advisory Council Minutes

Here are the minutes of our last meeting. The Advisory Council continues to build the bridge between clients and agencies. We will communicate with you on a regular basis.

Minutes of the GR/Deaf and Hard of Hearing/Quota Advisory Council held Jan. 22, 2015

Present: Trish Lopucki, Deb Atwood, Pam Howland, Kathy Freeman, Jeannette Johnson, Nancy Cluley, Cindy Cafmeyer, and Martha Herman
Guest: Jean Silba from the Comprehensive Therapy Center.

Jean led us off with a rousing description of the CTC with all of its benefits, programs and cool things they are doing with the community schools. The CTC also has a summer program for children, Therapy and Fun, for children 1 – 14 years of age. It’s a relaxed, integrated and intensive program that achieves maximum therapeutic progress for children with disabilities. For more information on the program, go to www.therapycenter.org.She has an abundance of information how Quota and other agencies and schools can maximize our potential in obtaining more assistance in the GR community. She mentioned that there is a program called Leadership GR that we might want to pursue in terms of gaining recognition, tapping into talents of the community and providing leadership training. She’s a keeper for us!!

News…
DHHS – The organization is pleased to have Nancy Cluley join them in the interviewing of senior members who are in need of hearing aids. Money from the Senior Millage was earmarked to help this population. She’s really learning and understanding their struggles with low incomes. She’s on board with all of us looking for new sources of funding, collaboration and cooperation.

Upcoming DHHS Events:

  • Kids’ program, called KidSigns – There will be a rock climbing and swimming adventure on January 29, 2015 at Kroc Center at 2500 S. Division Ave., 5:30 pm to 8 pm.
  • March 28th, kids from KidSigns will be exploring the Children’s Museum from 10 – 11:30 a.m..
  • May Fest, May 9 at Ramada Inn, 28th and E. Beltline, local wine and beer, hors d’oeuvres, Silent Auction and FUN
  • May 31, KidSigns activities will venture to Binder Park Zoo. Children from DHHS and the Deaf Interaction group from the Kalamazoo area will be participating.
  • June 13 – Silent Celebration, June 6, 11 to 3 pm, Pinery Park Lodge
  • July – Field Day, Lamar Park Splash Pad, 1 – 4 pm
  • July 20 – 24 Kids Kamp

…and more!

Quota – Pam and Kathy explained where we are as a Club right now and the journey moving forward. Jean suggested that we explore Leadership Grand Rapids programs that might help and support our mission. Everyone is appreciative of the work we do for the deaf community.

KenOSha – Cindy reported that there aren’t many new things happening but she and the rest of the staff were thrilled to get a little bonus for supplies from Quota. You can do a better job of anything if you have support. We’re glad to help!

Northview – Trish reported on the special trip for some of the seniors to visit Gallaudet University this spring in Washington, DC. She will be taking these students to visit the campus and learn about what they have to offer. She still needs about $1000, or a private jet, to complete the trip! Trish also recommended that representatives from Michigan Rehab Services should join us on the Council. Word from a recent retiree is that the budget only allows for direct contact with clients, and we aren’t clients. Trish will be meeting with them shortly at Northview. Trish also indicated that some of her teachers would like to join Quota knowing that we are doing some changes.

JJ – The Facebook page is up and running. Put any news you’d like on the page for sharing. We’ll get in the habit of posting info. DHHS is raising money for a new server for their office. They still need some funding to reach their goal.

Trish will give us instructions on how to use Google docs next time. Please bring your laptops so we can practice. There will be a test. She also has all of our email addresses on a spreadsheet and will share that with us as well. First, she needs to go on vacation.

Martha talked about the continuation of the Hear for Good project. Starkey will refurbish the hearing aids Quota is collecting; we get points; after a number of points are accumulated, we can get free hearing aids. Older hearing aids will be distributed in third world countries. Quota will re-launch this program in March.

Our next meeting will be March 12th at 3:30, DHHS.

Respectfully submitted by
Martha Herman
January 26, 2015

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Quota – Service in Action

Thanks to Quota’s donation to Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, two more people now have hearing aids.

One person emigrated to the US from Vietnam, however because of his lack of hearing aids, he has been unable to learn English and thus been unable to find employment. He is now taking English classes and is actively looking for work.

The second recipient is a gentleman in his early 50’s who is on disability due to other physical issues. With his new hearing aids he can now better communicate with his doctor.

Quota also assisted a deaf student who needed an alarm clock with a bed shaker to make sure he gets to school on time.

These are just a few examples of how Quota helps the deaf and hard of hearing in West Michigan.

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Service Committee Report

We received a thank you/quarterly report from Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) in Ottawa County. Quota provided a $1000 grant to this agency for service to those who are deaf or hard of hearing in their county. Using our grant monies, MRS was able to capture an additional $2704 in federal matching funds. The goal of MRS is to help persons with disabilities obtain and maintain employment. To that end, MRS assisted two individuals whose employment involved constant verbal interaction to obtain hearing aids. One customer received $2200 in assistance, the other received $1000. In both situations there was no other source of financial assistance available and without the new hearing aids, these two individuals would have lost their employment.

By combining our funding and resources Quota and Michigan Rehabilitation Services were able to make a significant difference in the lives of these two people and allow them to continue to be contributing members of our community.

 

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