Teacher is a hit with sign-language covers of popular music videos

Check out this story about an ASL teacher from Romeo, Michigan to learn how she’s getting her students interested in learning sign language.


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The Wisdom of Cats!

One day an old alley cat crossed paths with a younger cat frantically trying to catch its own tail. The older cat watched carefully for a while. When the young cat stopped for a breather, the older cat asked, “Would you mind telling me what you are doing?”

The young cat said, “Sure thing! I went to Cat Philosophy School and learned that happiness is in our tails. So I am going to keep chasing my tail and someday I will catch it and get a big bite of happiness.”

The older cat responded, “Well, I have never been to Cat Philosophy School, but I agree: Happiness is in our tails. However, I have found that when I just wander around enjoying life, it follows me everywhere I go.”

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DUCK WALK – September 15, 2014

What a wonderful day to walk in Millennium Park! Our Quota Event signs and bright yellow balloons lined the way where our new Banner greeted our participants in front of Shelter B.


Our new banner welcoming  our walkers!

Our new banner welcoming our walkers!

Registration hard at work!

Registration hard at work!


Despite the cold weather, almost 80 people joined us for our annual Duck Walk, a fund and awareness raising event. We had several activities for the kids including face painting by former JQ member, Amy, and our own member, Rachael and her friend, Kenzee.

Face painting masterpieces!

Face painting masterpieces!

Special guests included Mr. Quackers and ventriloquist Chris with his puppet friends, Gertrude and Theodore. Ashlee from the Meijer Hearing Center conducted free hearing screening for our guests. And Quotarian Sue demonstrated her fishing skills with the kids at the duck pond!

Mr. Quackers and friend!

Mr. Quackers and friend!

Chris with Gertrude and Theodore!

Chris with Gertrude and Theodore!

Free hearing screenings provided by Ashley from Meijer Hearing Centers

Free hearing screenings provided by Ashley from Meijer Hearing Centers

Goin' fishing!

Goin’ fishing!

There were participants from many of Quota’s partner service organizations including Northview’s Total Communication Program and the Grand Rapids Oral Deaf program.

We hope everyone who participated had a great time! Thanks for supporting Quota and our service mission.


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August 2014 Meeting minutes

All the excitement from the Duck Walk led to a delay in posting our minutes from August. Have no fear, here they are! A huge thank you to Cathy for doing such a fabulous job.

Quota International of Grand Rapids Membership Meeting

Sunnybrook Country Club, Grandville, MI

August 21, 2014


Present: Barbara Griffin, Martha Herman, Pam Howland, Cathy Kaiser, Robin Keith, Maureen Martin, Rachael Owsinski, Kim Savoie, Sue Scharf, Emily Uebbing.

10 members and 4 guests attended.

1. Call to order: 6:00 pm by President Martha Herman. Quota Collect

2. Consent Agenda: July meeting minutes were approved as sent. Robin was awarded a prize for uncovering the false line in the minutes. (Sorry – no fundraiser for the Australia Convention).

Martha announced the updated Finance & Fundraising Chairperson’s job description. It was determined that membership does not need to approve this. It will be finalized at the next Board Meeting.

Travel raffle: All agreed to follow Emily’s suggestion and designate travel raffle funds for World Service projects. This will be implemented beginning with the 2015 -16 budget year. Travel raffle netted $22 and the gift was won by Jeannette Johnson, an edible treat brought back from convention by Kim and Emily.

3. Recognition of Guests: Jeannette Johnson, the new DHHS Development Director, with her interpreter Roberta Schultz, Kenzee Daniels, guest of Rachael Owsinski, and Kathie McFarlin, guest of Martha Herman.

4. Leaders Survey: Conducted by QI before convention, the survey revealed interesting facts about Quota worldwide, including: The average number of years of membership is between 10 and 19 years; average size of the clubs is 16-25; average age 51-64. The synopsis is attached. If you would like the complete results, contact Martha or Robin.

5. DHHS and collaboration: We will be collaborating with DHHS and other agencies to enhance fundraising efforts. On August 23, guests had the opportunity to duck tape Jeannette Johnson to the wall. Join the DHHS Fundraiser at Logan’s Road House on Alpine, Wednesday, September 3, 5 – 9 pm. Cathy will buy drinks for any Quotarian who arrives after 6 pm. On September 25 at 7:30 “No Ordinary Hero” will be playing at Celebration Cinema at Rivertown.

More to come! See the attachments.

6. Duck Walk update: Martha sent and passed around the sign up list of duties the day of the event. Sign up! Meijer Hearing Centers want to participate. They want to provide a sponsorship for the walk. A hearing screening booth will be available at the walk. Martha is coordinating the purchase of “Quota Blue” t-shirts that all members can purchase to wear at the Duck Walk and other events. Cost is $9.00. She will send the ordering/size information. A new duck costume will be ordered for Bruce Savoie, our duck mascot. Robin provided Duck Walk brochures/pledge form for all to recruit walkers. She also e-sent the brochure with electronic donation connection (www.quotagr.org) to all Quota members, last year’s walkers, celebration attendees, Quota alumni, and shopping event vendors. Cathy will send brochures to anyone without an email address. We have received our first $250 sponsorship plus a $100 donation from Peggy Frank, Audiologist from Newaygo. Barbara Griffin has also sponsored the Walk from her team. Martha sent information about the Duck Walk to 43 hearing centers and audiologists.

7. Barnes & Noble update: Pam announced that Lisa Braendle is Co-Chair and anxious for a Quota member to step up and Co-Chair with her at this fun event. The book sale is Nov. 8 at Woodland Mall, the same day that Santa arrives there. We will have crafts for kids, guest authors and more!

8. Daytime tours of Ken-O-Sha: Sandi is coordinating a visit to the GROD school. Watch for details of this school-time event.

9. Guest Speaker: Jeannette Johnson, Director of Development, DHHS.

Jeannette delivered a very interesting overview of DHHS services and deaf culture, with the assistance of her interpreter, Roberta. DHHS was established in 1996 and has grown to provide services for 3,000 individuals, with an annual budget of $750,000. Their biggest service is providing interpreters within a 15 county area; 250 jobs per month. DHHS has an ADAPT program for senior citizens. DHHS offers ASL sign language classes. ASL is the official language of deaf in this country, originating in the 1960’s through Gallaudet. DHHS also offers a kids sign program to provide socialization and deaf role models for young people. They also held summer camp for 40 kids this year. Any organization can request cultural and sensitivity training. Anyone can stop into DHHS Monday – Friday, 9am – 4pm. Deaf see the world through their eyes – they are very visual and tend to be blunt. Look at the deaf person when you speak – not at the interpreter. For more information contact Jeannette: development@deafhhs.org.

Martha adjourned the meeting at 7:15pm.

Respectfully Submitted,

Cathy Kaiser, Recording Secretary



Leaders Survey 2014

Quota International sent out a survey to 242 Club Presidents and 20 Regional Directors. 52% were returned and here is a synopsis of its results.

  • There are 68 clubs in the U.S., 44 in Australia, 7 in Canada, 6 in the Philippines, 3 in New Zealand, 2 in Aruba and India, and one each in Curacao, Suriname and The Netherlands
  • In our region, there were 4 respondents.
  • The average number of years of membership is between 10 and 19 years.
  • Most members have served as Presidents for 2 years.
  • Average size of the clubs is 16-25; average age 51-64.
  • 100% of the clubs serve Disadvantaged Women and Children; 94% serve the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and 72% provide World Service
  • There are several pages depicting the primary focus of each club.

I found the statistics to be quite interesting. Lots of ideas and projects were given in the comments and goals sections.

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Just so you know – Chapter 2, Duck Walk

Here’s an update on what’s happening with the Duck Walk:

  1. Millennium Park is confirmed and ready. The posts have been constructed for the stand-alone banner for the sidewalk/top of the bank so no one will miss us. The other banner will be displayed on the shelter itself. Cathy K. has traveled the route and will mark it will balloons along the path. At the entrance to the park, she will post our signs and attach balloons, too. Duck tape will be used to lead people to the registration desk where Peggy and Maureen will help them register, donate and sign the waiver of liability.
  2. Ashlee Dowley, Manager of Meijer Hearing Centers, will be giving FREE hearing screenings in the shelter. She’s also hoping for a donation from Meijer
  3. Tickets to exchange for duck bills will be handed out to everyone who registers. (We prefer that the children get them first.) We have some left from last year plus we have purchased more this year. Tickets for the duck bills will be collected by Kathie McFarlin in an area away from the congestion of the registration site.
  4. Sue S.& company have activities for the children including the new, improved duck pond.Chocolate kisses will be distributed to those who catch the ducks. Face painting will be available near the pond.
  5. Barbara G. is our photographer for the event with Pam H. as the security agent. Cathy K. has a photo booth we can use from her family reunion. Photo permission slips will be available for those people who may want their picture on our advertising. If noted, pictures can be sent via email to those people who request them.
  6. Gertrude and Theodore will be present before the walk begins.
  7. Pat C. & company will distribute water and snacks at the shelter and at a location along the path.
  8. We purchased a cute duck costume for less than the cost of renting one. Martha will pick it up and see if any alterations need to be made. Bruce S. will strut his stuff in it, hopefully, without sweating bullets!
  9. The t-shirts have been ordered and should be ready sometime next week. Martha will hand them out at the walk but pick up is available in Newaygo for anyone who can’t wait to get theirs!
  10. A rough estimate shows that we have collected around $1000 including two sponsors: Baird Group (Thank you, Barbara and your team!) and Peggy from Audibel Hearing in Newaygo. (Peggy also  donated an additional $100 beyond the Quackers sponsorship level.) So we are already at twice the number of sponsors as we had from last year!!
  11. Sarah G. will be making her usual, creative name tags. Please wear a Quota shirt of some kind if you haven’t purchased a new t-shirt.

Martha is still waiting to hear from Meijer and Miracle Ear about possible donations/sponsorships. Does anyone else have some sponsor wanna-bees? Martha has sent out information on the Walk to about four dozen other audiologists and hearing aid suppliers

Please contact Martha directly if you haven’t already signed up for an assignment at the Walk. A program agenda for the day of the Walk will be distributed soon and will be posted at the Walk. Again, registration will begin at 12 noon. At 12:30 we will have children’s games and FREE hearing screening available; Gertrude, Theodore and the Big Duck will be available for pictures; duck bills will be ready to adorn the little ones. The official start of the Walk will be 1:30. Water and snacks will be available along the marked path.

Have I forgotten anything?? Kindly let me know if I have. Thanks for your support, as always!

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President’s Message Sept. 2014



As we begin September, please remember that this month is our largest fund raiser for the year. A lot of new people have joined us in this endeavor, but we need you to ‘pump it up’, too. Send a note to your facebook friends, your neighbors, anyone who cares. Here are some of the story lines that may help to initiate a donation.

$100 – 7 donations at this level can help fund hearing aids, many of which aren’t covered by insurance

$75 – 3 donations at this level can provide a “Deaf Child Neighborhood” traffic sign

$50 – 2 donations at this level can fund interactive equipment, like the tablet we bought for a deaf 5-year old to learn sign language

$25 – 10 donations at this level can fund activities, like our camp where a deaf 14-year old had his first ever roasted marshmallow

It’s stories like this that make a difference, as we know, in people’s lives. We don’t make this up; we have experienced these recent remarkable changes for the better, but only with support from you and me.

I recently met with Ashlee Dowley, Manager of the Meijer Hearing Centers, who will be conducting the FREE hearing screening at the Duck Walk. I told her the story about Carlos. I told the story about Easten. I told her about the international service we provide to millions of people in 12 countries. She was touched to hear about the things we do to make a difference, and applauded us for the vast array of people we serve.

Simply, we need to focus on the fact that, above all, we are in the happiness business. Our primary job is to find the emotional core of our mission and to connect it with the people we wish to reach. An emotional appeal will win over more donors. Think back about who or what experience you’ve had at Quota, or one of the events. Why do you keep coming back? Does it continue to touch your heart? Is it because you have seen or felt evidence that your donations of time and talents are still fresh in your mind? Do you remember that because of your efforts and that something has happened made a positive impact on your life.

All of us need to continue to tell our story, whether in the past or present, by engaging supporters and inspiring them to take action. Social media is the best way for us to strengthen our presence year round. And here’s why:

1. It’s dynamic. We have this vessel that can reach thousands of people every day. Social media makes it easy to combine text, photos, videos and interactive elements to tell a richer story than words alone.

2. It puts stories front and center. For many, social media is part of their daily routine. Sharing your stories through social channels will put our message front and center for our supporters, new and old.

3. It’s easy to consume. Breaking your stories into snackable sizes – just right for social media – helps our readers engage with our message quickly from wherever they happen to be.

4. It provides instant feedback. Unlike other channels, social media is optimized for real-time interaction. Get insight into what resonates with our supporters by offering a variety of stories and formats.

5. It’s shareable. Stories that amaze or inspire are irresistibly shareable. Take advantage of the fact that social tools are built to allow people to interact and share. Let our social media fans help us to spread the word and attract new members and supporters.

(Inspired by Storytelling for Nonprofits, NetworkforGood.org)

We can do this, if we work collectively, cooperatively and consciously.

Thank you!


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I spy…

…with my little eye…

this sign!

TDD signWho can tell me where this sign is located?

Leave your answer in the comment section and, if you’re correct, you’ll receive a prize! You have until the Duck Walk, Sept. 14th, to leave your answer.

Don’t remember how to comment? Email me (Emily) for directions.


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News for you

Here is a link to our new International President’s message. Please take a moment to read what Karen Murphy has to say. She shares her goals, the direction the Board is going and the changes we can look forward to with our new structural system (we are in Region 4, “leaping 4-ward”).

I’ve also included the July Minutes as approved at our August meeting.

Quota International of Grand Rapids Meeting

Sunnybrook Country Club, Grandville, MI

July 24, 2014 Minutes


Present: Sandi Aten, Peggy Bishop, Deb Buckley, Pat Cook, Ginny Ebers, Kathy Freeman, Sarah Glover, Barbara Griffin, Martha Herman, Cathy Kaiser, Robin Keith, Maureen Martin, Rachael Owsinski, Gwen Powers, Kathleen Slagal, Emily Uebbing.

16 members and 29 guests attended. Guest list is attached.

1. Call to order: 6:00 pm by President Martha Herman.

Sandi raffled off fun summer baskets of goodies throughout the meeting.

2. Consent Agenda: June meeting minutes were approved as sent. Robin and Sarah were awarded prizes for uncovering the false line in the minutes.

3. Introductions: Martha asked each group of guests to introduce themselves: Quota members, Alumni, Agencies, Volunteers, School staff, Supporters and Special Guests

Quota Collect

4. GR Quota History: Kath Slagal presented a delightful review of Quota’s founding in 1945, significant accomplishments, and notable events. Recall that we raised $40,000 for Cameron Weston’s cochlear implant under Peggy Bishop’s presidency. Remember our first male member, Mike Friar in 1989? How much fun we had with the Cool Cats at camp and cooking school! Quota means friends who will be there when you need them. Thank you to all contributors for your time, talent and donations.

5. Where are we now, and where we’re going: Martha shared plans for the future including strategic planning that will provide more focused services, an Advisory Council to help the club and partners collaborate more effectively, attract new members, and seek out more funding. Although some of us are wearing out, and our lives are busy, our hearts are big.

6. Slide show: Emily Uebbing presented an excellent video collection of Quota activities, including the Cool Cats, Convention, Kids Food Basket bags, and gift bags for Sisters in Support.

7. Quotations from our Partners – David Overeen, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, GR, and Todd Sprunger – MI Rehab Services, Kent County described their services and the types of needs their clients have, including hearing aids, and other equipment.

8. Special announcements and recognitions

a. Kath Slagal recognized the top tickets sellers in the 50/50 raffle (Martha, Robin, Kim).

b. Kathy Freeman – Service Committee Chair in recognition of the Helen David Service Award for the sign language interpreters at Northview’s theatre performance of ‘The Miracle Worker”. Kathy also described our service projects for this year.

c. Sarah Glover – Quotarian of the Year, 2014

d. Chris Kaiser – aka, Gertrude; aka, Theodore sang a special song for Quota

9. Special Guests – Renee, and her son, Easten Johnson with Grandma Grace. We are considering the many ways we could assist Easten who has a cochlear implant.

10. Upcoming Events: Martha announced these opportunities to support Quota:

            Duck Walk, September 14th, Millennium Park, 1 pm – 3 pm

            Koeze Nut Sale – Order those great nuts for any occasion at any time!

            Barnes & Noble Book Fair – November 8th, Woodland Mall

11. Other Announcements: See you at the Duck Walk!

Martha adjourned the meeting at 7:30pm.

Respectfully Submitted,

Cathy Kaiser, Recording Secretary


Summer Celebration 2014 – Guest List

# First Name Last Name Organization attended but no RSVP
no show
1 Sue Allen Deb Buckley
2 Dave Aten Barbara Griffin
3 Sandi Aten Mary Kaiser
4 Deb Atwood Rachael Owsinski
5 Yvonne Babe District 4 Director Steve Owsinski
6 Joe Bishop Grace Johnson
7 Peggy Bishop
8 Deb Blackmore
9 Judy Clarke
10 Joe Allen Cook
11 Pat Cook
12 Jack DeBoer
13 Kathy DeBoer
14 Amy Docter
15 Summer Docter
16 Ginny Ebers
17 Kathy Freeman
18 Sarah Glover
19 Tom Glover
20 Martha Herman
21 Karen Hooker
22 Easten Johnson
23 Jeanette Johnson
24 Renee Johnson
25 Cathy Kaiser
26 Chris Kaiser
27 Bill Keith
28 Robin Keith
29 Maureen Martin
30 Kathie McFarlin
31 Nicki Mumford Quota Club of Kalamazoo
32 David Overeem Deaf & Hearing Services
33 Mary Peterson
34 Gwen Powers
35 Heather Reuth
36 Misti Ryefield Deaf & Hearing Services – interpreter
37 Dusty Scheuerman Elders Helpers
38 Jessica Scheuerman
39 Kath Slagal
40 Colleen Smith
41 Todd Sprunger Michigan Rehab Services
42 Emily Uebbing
43 Martel Walker
44 Patty Watson AMBUCS
45 Cameron Weston
46 Renee Weston
47 Gertrude
48 Theodore


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Just so you know….

I (President Martha) will be sharing information with you periodically about what’s going on with our partners, people, and agencies as I meet with them. This is a follow up to the Summer Celebration to strengthen our relationship with the community. I will be meeting with GR Oral Deaf teaching staff, with Sandi, our liaison; Northview P.S. with Pat, our liaison; AMBUCS, Patty Watson; MI Rehab Services, Todd Sprunger; Miracle Ear manager in GR, Chad Barcheski; and others.

August 13, 2014 DHHS

I met with Jeannette Johnson, Development Director, Deb Atwood, Business Manager and David Overeem, Tech Support at DHHS to discuss how we can complement each other’s efforts in reaching the community. I did not indicate or promise any financial support in any way.
We discussed the services that they have to offer …. American Sign Language classes, Workshops, Interpreters, Cultural Sensitivity training, and counseling over 6700 clients per year. They have relationships with Hear Now at Spectrum Health, Area Agency on Aging, and are continuing to seek sources for funding through grants.

There are high schools, Wayland and Forest Hills Northern, that teach ASL for credit towards their Foreign Language requirement. Another good group to pull in.

They have several fund raisers each year including a May Fest at McFadden’s, a Silent Auction, a February Chocolate event, and a Silent Celebration in June with 200-300 people attending at Douglas Walker Park. They hold a camp for kids, and will be hosting a speaker, Trix Bruce, a well-known actress, humorist and speaker in November.

I indicated that I would like them to participate in our activities as well. They are more than willing to assist us in our effort to attract more people to OUR fundraisers. They would like to be a part of our Duck Walk, our B & N bookfair and anything else. They have offered to supply equipment for our FREE hearing screening at the Duck Walk, distribute our flyers and direct people to our website.

Here’s my thinking on this.
We reach a larger group of people for the same cause. We are just supporters
We may increase club membership.
We increase awareness through partnership using their databases.
We could collaborate on a grant to raise money for our pet projects with fewer efforts to drum up ideas, making our time more efficient and effective.

We would have to establish a statement such as ‘we do not endorse any agency’…etc.
If we did participate in a fundraiser with [DHHS], we would have to weigh the pros and cons of support, time and effort. There may be some political ramifications as well.

Overall, DHHS truly appreciates all we do as a club to provide funding and support. Together I think we can have a positive impact.

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2014 Duck Walk

Mark your calendar to attend our annual Duck Walk on Sunday, September 14, 2014 at Millennium Park. Click here for more information, or click below to:




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