President’s Message – March 2016


Now, at the end of my term, I would like to have you know my perspective from the last 2 years.

You all have done an outstanding job of trying to follow my vision for the future.  You’ve kept up your spirit and worked long and hard on several issues facing change and uncertainty.  We’ve come a long way!

I’m attaching the President’s report that I’ve sent to QI and to Region 4.  It includes reports from the Activities Team, the Involvement Team and the Communications Team.  Certainly we have accomplished a tremendous amount of effort and progress toward becoming an outstanding Club.  The survey results indicate that we’ve only just begun this venture….’It’s only the first year.”  There have been mistakes made, and in retrospect, it could become a much better format for everyone to be involved.

I do have some recommendations for improvement.

  1. The Club meetings need to be more focused, that is, have a plan to include actions, assistance from members, and discussion of recruiting possible members.  We won’t be able to move ahead without more members to give us ideas, energy and support.

We used the method for less time spent out of Club meetings, however, that worked the best during the planning of the Duck Walk.  That system worked but it didn’t seem to work after that.  We’ll need a project/event/program that we could work on collectively perhaps every other month or so.  Teams at first were ‘go to the Team you wanted to join’.  Then Teams were further defined with members assigned to them.  Somewhere, the Teams dwindled, and in some cases, were comprised of only the 2 Team Leaders.  This needs to be clearly defined.  Descriptions and duties of the each Team were ‘lost’ even though they were sent to the membership.

  1. Recruiting volunteers was minimal and no one’s fault.  We will need specific duties for volunteers during our Club meetings to spread the work and involve them in our meetings.  I believe there are volunteers out there who want to be part of an organization prior to officially joining one, ie. testing the waters.

It is difficult to identify and encourage participation by volunteers, especially younger people.  We have become an ‘older’ crowd.  People volunteer to help specific groups, ie. women and children, however, there is a limited amount of people who have the passion to assist the deaf and hard of hearing unless that passion is personal.  We need passion to continue to recruit members.

  1. Communications amongst the Club members needs to be improved.  We’ve become a society that we mostly communicate through email.  When sending out information to the Club, most of the information is lost due to the fact that they can readily delete the message, sometimes without reading it thoroughly.  Sure, we have blogs and websites and facebook, but I, for one, unless I wrote it, it either goes into a file or is deleted due to the high volume of emails received.

Honestly, I don’t know how to change that.  Perhaps the Club can meet and come up with some solution like a newsletter, chocked with ideas, needs, upcoming events, and our impact in the community on a regular basis of every other week.  Since our meetings are occurring once per month, members lose contact with each other, due to life and living.

A survey of Club members was made with only 55% participating.  That’s disappointing to me, but I understand that some are ‘silent partners’ in the forming the future of the Club.

The survey results indicated some of the problems listed above, however, we need to have a ‘heart to heart’ with all of our members in person to get full, open, honest opinions from them.  We did have one of those meetings, and it was super, but we need to keep members active and aware at all times.  It takes planning and work!

After all of this, I am very pleased with the hurdles we have jumped and the impact on the community as outlined in the Activities Team report.  The Advisory Council has been a terrific vehicle in sharing the pulse of the deaf communities, yet needs to be expanded with more members.  Also, it was suggested that we hold fewer meetings. I continue to hope that these meetings, besides what’s going on at their agency/school, etc., it’s a time to personally collaborate with each other, share ideas and contacts, grow their communities and openly discuss issues in the deaf community.  I guess more like a ‘therapy session’ to voice difficulties and barriers and frustrations.

We have made great strides in reaching the public – TV interviews, radio interviews, partnering with agencies to increase our visibility, coffee at the Farmer’s Market, donations to larger, very visible programs with equipment, but as you know, that will be a continuing effort as always.

I encourage you to continue to ‘show Quota’s face’.

I trust that the new leadership will take some of these suggestions and move forward.

Thank you.


President’s Message 2.19.16


PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE    February 19, 2016

Last night’s Club meeting was terrific. Everyone shined and sparked new interest and emotion into our guests, and our Club.  You all really make a difference!!

A few other things….

Gwen and I are meeting tomorrow to construct a survey of how you feel about Strategic Planning and the changes that have been implemented this year.  I think it’s important to measure our successes and examine the challenges we still need to fine tune.  The survey will be sent to you via email as soon as it is ready.

Quota International contacted me about the Hear For Good program recently.  Someone was interested in how the program worked and wanted more information.  The marketing person wanted to know about one of our recent successes and wrote this article on their blog. (

Region 4 is having their 2nd annual conference in Birch Run, MI, April 8th to the 10th.   Quota International President, Karen Murphy, will be there speaking and giving us updates on the latest news from headquarters.  Julie Jones will be the inspirational speaker on personal development.  It sounds like a great, fun and informative getaway.  See the attached reservation form.

Also attached is the new flyer for Quota of Grand Rapids.  It’s something we can hand out with pride.  BIG Thanks to the authors!!

“The great thing in this world is not so much where you stand, as in what direction you are moving.”

– Oliver Wendell Holmes

In my opinion, I think we are moving in the right direction.  New members are extremely important to keep that momentum working and growing.  New perspectives and challenges will continue to be present in our development as a Club.  But I think we can overcome mistakes and grow stronger.

Thank you for all you do.


President’s Message December 2015

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE for December, 2015

It’s been a very Happy Year, 2015!  Can’t wait for more action in 2016!

As you know, I wrapped on Black Friday and pulled in $67.10 from the crowd at B & N.  Last week on Christmas Eve, Kathy Freeman, Maureen Martin and her friend, Cynthia Lehman, came to join me wrap!  What fun, but the most fun was counting the money raised….$299.66!!!  Yahooo…for a total of $366.76.  We met a lot of cool people who were glad to give.

Also last week Tuesday, I met with Sharan Sturdavant from Cedar Springs, our first recipient of our Hear For Good hearing aids.  DHHS’s Nancy Cluley interviewed her as a candidate for our program and she was ecstatic to know that someone finally could help her.  She has had hearing loss for most of her life along with a speech impediment.  She found help for her speech but she still needed hearing aids.  She has been tested by three different audiologists in hopes that someone, or some way, she could get help.

Today, I received a voice mail from her husband, Eric, who is just as excited about the hearing aids as she is!  I called back and reached Eric.  He handed the phone to Sharan and told me her fittings would be tomorrow at Kaczmarski Hearing Center!  It only took one week to get the reconditioned hearing aids to her with her specific needs.  Starkey is an amazing company!

Kaczmarski is a terrific company as well.  They are the only independent audiology center in West Michigan.  Beckie Kaczmarski was more than willing to give her time, her employee’s time and talent to make this a dream come true at Christmas for someone who has been waiting so long for someone to come forward.

We are the ones who have made a new life for Sharan.  I’m so proud that we can all, collectively, with agency and audiologists’, support to make a difference.

I hope your dreams come true, too, in 2016.


President’s Message Oct 4, 2015

marthaPresident's message poster.pdfCONGRATULATIONS, QUOTA CLUB OF GRAND RAPIDS!!

We have united our spirited talents for the best results on the 2015 Duck Walk!!  So many of you participated in one way or another to raise a new record of donations and sponsorships!!  Wonderful work!

Another thought…..

I believe we have all encountered some challenges in our lives.  We struggle and think about them, but we face those, hopefully, with positive energy knowing that we can move forward.  Our deaf friends experience those challenges on a daily basis.  Our lives are simple compared to the hurdles that they have.

Let’s remember that they need our help, support and promises to keep them moving forward, too.  Think what it’s like to walk in their shoes for a day.  Imagine life without the ability to hear, understand and comprehend life.  It isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.

Thank you for being you!

President’s Message 8.24.15

President’s Message, August 24, 2015

Over the past several months, I have discovered the unique culture, practices and principles of the deaf community.

From my experience, they are

bold and shy,

strong and vunerable,

intense and involved,

broken and collected

misunderstood and knowledgeable

depressed and suppressed.

They display pain with humor,

Laugh with a freedom only known to them

Discounted from society yet deeply involved in their own

Comforting to each other

Cautious with strangers, and

Unconditionally supportive

It’s a tightly woven community with skills, insights and challenges all very unique.

I understand so very much more than I did a year ago, and I’m so happy I’ve had the opportunity to acquire new life long relationships.

I would like to invite you, too.

Thank you, friends!


President’s Message July 28, 2015

marthaWhat a great summer it’s turned out to be! I hope you are all enjoying it.

Last week, I volunteered at KidSign Kamp sponsored by DHHS. Forty-one children attended from 3 to 14 years of age. They were a very, very busy crowd!! Monday MSU Cooperative Extension showed them the importance of healthy eating and how to grow their own vegetables. They each got to make their own salsa and left with some, too. On Tuesday, we visited Karin’s Horse Connection in Caledonia. What a great place!! The kids each got to ride and groom horses, learned how to do some tricks on them and played some cool games. The faces and smiles were as big as the horses themselves!! Wednesday was Hero Day. Police, firefighters and ambulance personnel visited and showed us their equipment and the importance of safety. Oh, to ride in a cop car with the sirens blaring….nothing better for any of the kids!! Thursday we went to Star Theatre and toured the projection room and watched the movie “Ant-Man”. The movie was the first captioned film offered in GR, with popcorn, too. Friday we were entertained by a cool Clown at Jester’s Court, a bouncy playground, and signed our song for the week, “Roar” by Katy Perry.

Kids Kamp 2-3Kids Kamp 1 Kids Kamp 2 - 4Kids Kamp 9 Kids Kamp 12Kids Kamp 2 -1


The kids were fabulous!! Each day we learned some new sign language and some even signed sentences.

This experience reminds me of the wonderful work we do to support the children who love life so intensely. One mom told us that she saw her child bloom from a shy little girl to one who enjoys every minute, every opportunity to express herself and deal with barriers yet to be. The world is all new every day.

We make this happen by supporting financially as well as personally. I’m proud to be a part of it. I hope you can join me in giving long lasting memories for these children.

Kids Kamp in Action!  Kids Kamp 5 Kids Kamp 2 Kids Kamp 2 -1 Kids Kamp 13 Kids Kamp 14 Kids Kamp 15  Kids Kamp 8

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!!