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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.

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President’s Message Sept. 2014

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE FOR SEPTEMBER, 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!

Martha

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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 sparked.com. 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.

-Martha

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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.

-Martha

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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.

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May 2014 President’s Message

Before I post the President’s Message, I want to take a minute to congratulate Martha on her new appointment! I also want to say thank you to Kim for sharing two years worth of thoughts here on our blog. As Martha takes over please continue to check back at the beginning of each month for her message. Stop by more often for other news and information. For instance, check back after this weekend to see the special post about our 2014 Quotarian of the Year. -Emily

Without further ado, here’s the first message from Madame President:

My theme, Moving Forward, reflects some changes in the focus of Quota International. I will continuously communicate with you and expect that you will communicate with me.

Here are some of the highlights of what to expect from me as we grow and develop our Club:

  1. Challenge – learn how to improve and expand our Club
  2. Discover – learn how can we encourage others to join, volunteer, donate
  3. Innovate – learn how to think outside the box, and get measureable results
  4. Prioritize – our goals and reduce the obstacles
  5. Collaborate – with other agencies and build lasting relationships
  6. Synergize – the community w/ Quota
  7. Build – on small progressive steps to positive change and personal fulfillment
  8. Move Forward and create a WAVE of CHANGE, not only for others, but for a stronger sense of purpose for ourselves as leaders of our communities

Let’s all move together to create a fabulous, intriguing effort for success.

Not any one of us can do it. It must be a collaborative effort.

I thank you, I appreciate your insights and suggestions, and I trust that we can make a difference in the lives of those we serve, collectively. -Martha

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April 2014 President’s Message

The Wisdom of Flying Geese
Quota International of Grand Rapids
President’s Message
September 2012

When you see geese heading south in the fall, they fly along in “V” formation. You might be interested in knowing what scientists have discovered about why they fly that way.

#1–It has been learned that as each bird flaps its wings, it creates uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in “V” formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.

#2–When the lead goose gets tired, he rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point.

#3–The geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

#4–Finally, when a goose is sick or wounded and falls out, two geese fall out of formation and follow him down to help and protect him. They stay with him until he is either able to fly or until he is dead, and then they launch out to catch up with their group or fly with another formation.

Basic Truth #1–People who share a common direction can get where they are going more quickly and easily because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

Basic Truth #2–It pays to take turns doing hard jobs, true with geese or with people!

Basic Truth #3–When we’re not in the lead, it’s important to honk our support from behind.

Basic Truth #4–If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other, protect one another, and sometimes make new friends who are going in our direction.

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March 2014 President’s Message

I have heard one question much more than any other lately: Are we really going to do this, even with the weather like it is?
Just so you know, we will call off a Quota meeting only if the facility we use is closed due to the weather or a power outage. If they do close, we will send out an email to announce that. In addition, we will call all the members to let them know. This is for people (like me) who don’t have instant access to their emails.
Of course, we want our members to use their own judgment and only come to a meeting if they feel comfortable driving.

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February 2014 President’s Message

Well, it’s February.  We are in a deep freeze here.  I’ve “bing”ed what to do in cold weather.

Maybe you’ll find this fun…

If you do, let me know. For now, I’m going back to my hibernation!!

-Kim

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January 2014 President’s Message

January 2014

Take a look at these statistics on New Year’s Resolutions:

Top 10 New Year’s resolutions for 2012
1.Lose Weight
2.Getting Organized
3.Spend Less, Save More
4.Enjoy Life to the Fullest
5.Staying Fit and Healthy
6.Learn Something Exciting
7.Quit Smoking
8.Help Others in Their Dreams
9.Fall in Love
10.Spend More Time with Family

Length of Resolutions Data
Resolution maintained through first week 75%
Past two weeks 71%
Past one month 64%
Past six months 46%

People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who do not explicitly make resolutions

Source: University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology
Published: 12.13.2012

Successful or not, this tells me that people have good hearts and want to improve their situation and others’ as well. And the fact of the matter is that we don’t have to wait until the beginning of each new year to focus on that goal; every morning presents an opportunity to begin anew!

ps: check out our club in the news!

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