President’s message, July 7, 2015

I just finished our donation request to Meijer for the Duck Walk. I was astonished as to how much we give to this community through our work, and I didn’t even mention all of it!!

Here’s just a snip-it of what I wrote:Kent-Ottawa-Muskegon

Approximately 3.6% of Kent County residents are deaf or hard of hearing, or 22,381 people. There are 9,506 in Ottawa County and 9,012 in Muskegon County.


The statistics identify 19.5% are below the poverty line and 12.9% receive SSI. We, at Quota, raise money to change people’s lives by providing low cost hearing aids, support for internet services for those who cannot afford the link to the outside world, phones or even door bells and for interpreters when they go to the doctor’s office. We take for granted the many services they are restricted to enjoying….television, movies, concerts, etc.

Often they are isolated and depressed due to their disability. We will take this donation to impact their lives, and the lives of those around them, in a variety of ways. The deaf have a unique culture all their own. We need to help them feel part of the whole community with positive encouragement.


  • Purchased a set of hearing aids, retail cost $6,000, for a young lady who suffers from MeniHearingAidInEar2ere’s Disease. Quota Club collected used hearing aids for points towards a new set. The young lady is low income and is so thrilled to hear! The Hear for Good Project is still collecting used hearing aids and can now purchase 7 more hearing aids.
  • Collaborate with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services to support summer camp experiences for 50 children


  • Work with Northview’s Total Communication Program toGallaudet Logo support 23 high school students NorthviewLogoto visit Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., the only university for deaf students
  • Provide interpreter services to Spanish speaking mothers of children who attend the Grand Rapids Oral Deaf program; provide support of time and services to the programGROD Logo




  • Work with Grand Rapids Community College to provide GRCC Logoa $500 scholarship to an individual who is pursuing a career in assisting the deaf


  • Provide donations to Michigan Rehabilitation Services for working adults to find or continue employment for about 30 individualsDeafPersonAtWork

You should all feel very proud of what we do and the path we’re taking to become an outstanding Club.

I appreciate you and all that you do to make it happen and make a difference.

Martha Herman, President


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.

President’s Message, January, 2015

There are so many wishes for a new year, so many resolutions, so many promises. Perhaps these wishes, wants and dreams can be realized if we take them in smaller doses. Maybe by weeks or months, but years seem too long to keep focused.

Let’s challenge each other to keep our promise to Quota by the week and month. At each of our initiations, we were asked to uphold the principles of Quota. Have you? I don’t think you need a reminder of what they are. You know in your heart. You know in your actions. You know because you make a difference.

By the week….Support each other in their personal projects. Some of you want more involvement in the community. Some of you want to support our mission in different ways. Some of you want to stay in the background. Let’s support each other in all that we do, collectively.

By the month….Support Quota by attending the meetings, giving feedback, giving positive refreshment to the Club.

This month you will be presented with options for our Club to move forward. I would like you to think seriously about what and how you would like to proceed. We need to think about our focus, our promises and our future.

Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding an answer. – Denis Waitley

Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things … and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. – Walt Disney


President’s Message for December, 2014

It’s really too bad we don’t celebrate the months as much as we do November and December.  We make special wishes to people…Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, etc. during these months but why don’t we wish people good things during the rest of the year?

Why don’t we share positive messages, revelations, and salutations of joy every day?

Perhaps because we get caught up in our own struggles.  Perhaps many fewer than most people.

We do, however, have tremendous gifts among us, ready to share and provide positive growth and opportunity.  Let’s do something good every month of the year, no matter what month or day.  The world is new all the time.  And we, together, can make a difference.

Soon, we will be embarking on new ideas and practices that are vital to our future.  Please be mindful that these are just some of the ideas we have brought together.  We are not perfect nor are we knowledgeable in every area of building the best Club.

Think of it this way by O. A. Battista….

“Mistakes can be anchors that drag you down, or stepping stones to greater levels of achievement.  Unless you take the proper attitude toward mistakes, however, you are doomed to lose much of the pleasure of your work.  No matter how successful you may appear to be on the outside, real and lasting satisfaction comes only from inside of you.  The most important point of all to remember about mistakes is this: No error becomes a mistake until you refuse to correct it.”

We make mistakes but only to teach us about new ways to think.  I believe this, sincerely.

Happy Every Day of the Year!!

November 2014 President’s Message

Quota International empowers women, children, the deaf, hard-of-hearing, and speech-impaired in local communities around the world.

Soon we will be wrapping up our Strategic Planning sessions and I’ll be presenting my recommendations to the Board and the Membership.  This hasn’t been the easiest project to tackle but I think we’ve done a great job of collecting information, opinions and suggestions for improvement in our Club. Certainly, if there’s anything you’d like to be discussed, please join us on Nov. 17th at Cathy Kaiser’s condo, you can email her for directions.  We begin our discussion around 6:45.  Please let me (Martha) know that you are going to attend.

The Barnes & Noble book fair is going to be a great event!  There has been a tremendous amount of time and effort in planning and organizing.  Let’s get the word out, again, to support the Club and our mission. Click here to read more.

‘Make a Difference Day’ at Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services was a big hit!  We collected 27 hearing aids that will be refurbished and distributed to low income people in the community.  Additionally, new sites have been added in several locations:

Elder’s Helpers, 1407 Robinson Rd. SE; Grace Lutheran Church, Coopersville; Orchard Hill Church at 3 Mile and Bristol, GR; Drs. Niquette and Fair, Fremont; St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Newaygo.  Other sites pending are the GR Veterans Home and Porter Hills.  If you have any connections where you think we might be able to collect hearing aids, please let me know.

Something to think about…

The world is all new all the time.  I go out there, and every day I’m starting all over again.  I’m always an amateur.  I may start something that’s not supported by my peers.  Every day I give up.  But then I always come back to it, thinking that perhaps someone will be encouraged to try something new, something different, something impactful.  Controlled hysteria is what’s required.  To exist constantly in a state of hysteria.  It’s agony. But everyone has agony. The difference is that I try to take that agony home and teach it to sing.

Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving.


October ’14 President’s Message

Even though we didn’t make our financial goal for the Duck Walk by about $1000, I think we made tremendous strides in connecting with the Northview Total Communications staff and the GROD staff, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services and their staff, the Meijer Hearing Center, Elder’s Helpers and others that we don’t usually have as participants.  That was one of my goals from the Summer Celebration.  I want to thank the committee for their hours of work and generous time spent making the Duck Walk a success!

Undoubtedly a positive relationship is blooming with Quota and our agencies, schools, and community members.  From here, I think we will find more people spreading the word, attending and, hopefully, donating.

The Quota Advisory Council met last week at DHHS with a small group, who are very engaged, in identifying the unmet needs of our community.  Cathy Kaiser led with an excellent tool for each entity to respond.  You can find the information by clicking here.  The minutes are also included by clicking here.

My relationship with Ashlee Dowley is growing even further.  One day when I was pitching the Duck Walk, I mentioned that we didn’t have enough money to support a Spanish interpreter for the Mother’s Group at Ken-O-Sha.  This group meets once per month for 2 hours and discusses issues related to the struggles of having deaf and hard of hearing children.  Many of the children are from Hispanic homes where Spanish is the only language spoken.  With an interpreter, those moms would be able to  understand and be confident that their children are in the correct program.  Ashlee told me that she had just hired a young man, just out of college at GVSU who majored in medical interpretation with an emphasis in Spanish!  She set aside part of his work schedule to attend the meetings. Chris Ward started at Ken-O-Sha last Friday with his first group.  He was definitely excited to put his skills to work and meet the moms, with enthusiasm!  And all of this didn’t cost anyone any money!!  Thank you, Ashlee!

Now to the Make A Difference Day.  I started to put together the registration information yesterday and found that the event does HAVE to occur on the 4th Saturday of October, Oct. 25th this year.  So… I thought we could still participate.  People would drop off old, unused, or broken hearing aids to be repaired and given away to those persons who cannot afford them.  They would be distributed through DHHS and other agencies.   Proposed hours are from 10 – 4.  I will let you know what’s happening along the way.  If you’d like to spend some time assisting on Oct. 25th, please let me know.

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,

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

Thank you!


August 2014 President’s Message

The QI Convention was fabulous! I had a copy of QI Leadership survey from Quotarians around the world for you to read here, but I will have to re-arrange some files to be able to post it.

We are not the only ones struggling with membership, retaining and gaining new members, raising money and keeping the spirit alive. Barbara Schrieber has initiated some new ideas and I am confident that we will all feel better with her leadership to revive Quota. It was mentioned that Quota hasn’t changed in 40 years and with the same Director for 28 years! Certainly it is time to move forward.

Earlier I mentioned that there is some new technology to assist the deaf and hard of hearing. One of them is the SMART 911. The state of Louisiana has recently adopted this emergency text option for those people who are deaf to call for help in case of an accident, home invasion or other emergency situation from a cell phone. I talked with Jeannette Johnson from DHHS at the Summer Celebration, and there is legislation pending for Michigan to soon adopt this service.

There is another program available to connect people who want to volunteer their time or talents or services via Let’s say we need more ear plugs to give away at the B & N Bookfair. We post our needs on-line and perhaps there is someone out there who can donate them to us. Perhaps we can post on our Facebook page, or work our QI network to gain support or products. Great idea, but time consuming. I’ll try it and let you know.

All in all, we will be getting improved support, both for our clubs and the people we serve. Amazing things are happening around the world in technology, and we will now be able to connect, learn and explore.

Summer Celebration was a great hit, as I’ve heard from most of the participants, volunteers and agency contacts. The Advisory Council, a group of people from agencies, schools, audiologists, and others will meet to discuss how we can work together, share resources and become a source of information. Jeannette Johnson and another staff member will be participating from DHHS along with Cindy Cafmeyer from Ken-O-Sha. We have a tentative meeting scheduled for September 23rd. If you would like to participate, please let me know.


July 2014 President’s Message

As we begin to connect with the people who help us with our mission on July 24th, I’d like to remind you of some ideas that embrace Quota.

One of the first questions that any new person who joins in with us is ‘Do I belong here?’ One way or another, they must locate themselves in the story of our motto, We Change Lives.  They must experience a genuine emotional connection that says what you do matters to them, personally.  It might be the cause itself, a special project, their relationship with a member, etc. But whatever it is, all of us have a story to tell of a person who was touched by one of our activities.  Carlos, for example, had never roasted a marshmallow over a fire, had never experienced the taste of a s’more and was only one of the handful of young people who found a way to the picnic last year.  He topped his game by wiggling that oreo cookie from his forehead to his mouth in seconds.  I would say those experiences changed his life by giving him confidence, acceptance and applause, something that he rarely ever felt.

What do we at Quota stand for?  From the article about telling stories, we need to express ourselves, our passion, our mission, our special projects to include the people with whom we work.  People invest in organizations that reflect their own personal values and worldview.  They express themselves by donating their time, money and energy.  Now we need to reinforce what we know how to do – further engage, reinforce and brag about what we do with the money we raise.  Only a small group of people really know what impact we have on the community.

Communicating our unique difference is a matter of survival.  It’s time for us to be proud of what we do and act upon the things that matter the most.

Let’s spread the word. Tell a story about how YOU changed someone’s life through the service that we provide, how YOU impacted their future, how you inspired someone.


June 2014 President’s Message

Maureen shared the link from Network for Good, a non-profit platform, with me about Storytelling for Nonprofits.  Over the past year, we have talked briefly about this topic and how we can engage more people as members, supporters, donors, and so on.  The Membership Committee, chaired by Diane, has shown intense interest in this subject, encouraging us to learn how this skill can benefit our Club.

Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of communication, stretching generations, and teaching young and old people strong ethics, morals, and sensitivity to, and for others.  Many of us have problems telling good stories simply by misunderstanding some of the basic guidelines.  This is just one of the points as outlined in the eBook on how to present stories that attract donors, win support and raise money.

Stories help us remember.  When you have facts you want people to remember, it’s much more likely the facts will be remembered if you contain those facts within a story.”

Last Thursday, I attended the concert held by the students of Ken-O-Sha school.  While I sat and listened to their little voices, reaching out and touching each one of us in the audience in a different way, I looked at the end of the row where Sandi Aten was sitting.  At one time this past month, she said she might like to volunteer somewhere else.  I don’t believe it!

Sandi had her eyes glued to each and every one of those 63 students, engaged and humored by their intensity, their efforts, their expressions and the joy of being recognized for their hard work.  She was every bit as happy as having several new friends, several new grandkids or several days traveling with friends. She knew all of the children, in one way or another, and praised them afterwards with warm and kind words of support. Her heart has been touched in so many ways by these children, their struggles, their failures, their accomplishments and their rewards.  I believe she will be there next year.

This is a story.  This is a memory.  This is an emotion.

This is why we are here; this is why we do what we do; and this is how we make a difference.

At our Summer Celebration on July 24th, we will be showing the last few videos of these children singing and playing their hearts out at these performances.  Please find a story that you can tell.