What is it like to be deaf?

“What is it like to be deaf?”

People have asked me.

Deaf? Oh, hmm… how do I explain that?

Simple: I can’t hear.

No, wait… it is much more than that.

It is similar to a goldfish in a bowl,

Always observing things going on.

People talking at all times.

It is like a man on his own island

Among foreigners.

Isolation is no stranger to me.

Relatives say hi and bye

But I sit for 5 hours among them

Taking great pleasure at amusing babies

Or being amused by TV.

Reading books, resting, helping out with food.

Natural curiosity perks up

Upon seeing great laughter, crying, anger.

Inquiring only to meet with a “Never mind” or

“Oh, it’s not important”.

Getting a summarized statement

Of the whole day.

I’m supposed to smile to show my happiness.

Little do they know how truly miserable I am.

People are in control of language usage,

I am at loss and really uncomfortable!

Always feeling like an outsider

Among the hearing people,

Even though it was not their intention.

Always assuming that I am part of them

By my physical presence, not understanding

The importance of communication.

Facing the choice between Deaf Event

weekend or a family reunion.

Facing the choice between the family commitment and Deaf friends.

I must make the choices constantly,

Any wonder why I choose Deaf friends???

I get such great pleasure at the Deaf clubs,

Before I realize it, it is already 2:00 am,

Whereas I anxiously look at the clock

Every few minutes at the Family Reunion.

With Deaf people, I feel so normal,

Our communication flows back and forth.

Catch up with little trivials, our daily life,

Our frustration in the bigger world,

Seeking the mutual understanding,

Contented smiles and laughter are musical.

So magical to me,

So attuned to each other’s feelings.

True happiness is so important.

I feel more at home with Deaf people

Of various color, religion, short or tall.

Than I do among my own hearing relatives.

And you wonder why?

Our language is common.

We understand each other.

Being at loss of control

Of the environment that is communication,

People panic and retreat to avoid

Deaf people like the plague.

But Deaf people are still human beings

With dreams, desires, and needs

To belong, just like everyone else.

–Dianne Kinnee (Switras)

Day at the State Capitol

Below is the registration form for our fourth annual Day at the State Capitol scheduled for Wednesday, May 13, 2009. Please note that we will be advocating for some important issues including new hb-4240 for a Michigan income tax credit for hearing aids (see attached bill)

The form is for you to use to personally register for the DASC. I also encourage all of you who are affiliated with agencies, organizations and clinics to make the form available on your websites, in your newsletters, in mailings, at your offices, etc.

All of our Senators and State Representatives have been invited to our luncheon meeting. If you plan to attend, please send a personal invitation to your Senator and Representative to join us. We hope to have up to 150 attendees at this year’s DASC which will give us an opportunity to create a strong awareness of who we are and the legislative issues we are interested in.

I hope to see you at this year’s DASC, and appreciate everything all of you do for deaf and hard of hearing people.

Best regards,

Vic K.
Business 616-475-7724

a Note of Thanks

March 26, 2009

Dear Quota Friends,

Words cannot express how touched I was by your overwhelming response to the recent illness and death of my mother.

As I read each card or note, your warm smiling faces came to mind and you filled me with that warmth.  It was truly comforting and more appreciated than you will ever know.

I have missed you these past several weeks being unable to attend even the briefest of meetings – but I have continued to follow the news and check in on the website.  I am so sorry to have missed the presentations and the annual meeting but I highly approve of the direction we are taking.

My mother was a remarkable woman (aren’t they all) – one I can only aspire to be – and I shall miss her every day for the rest of my life.  In her memory I’d like to share this recollection …

Several years ago when my professional life had taken a turn for the worse and I was dispirited and inclined to check out of the human race for an indeterminate amount of time, she encouraged me to continue my involvement in Quota and the many friends I had made.  She knew from the experiences I had and the work our club had done that these people would help me find my way again.  She was right.  You all supported me then as you have now.

In her memory, Adamy + Company, P.C. is making a donation to Quota International of Grand Rapids Charitable Foundation.  I know she would approve.

Thank you dear friends.  You have helped comfort me in my grief and replenished my soul with sunshine.

Yours in Quota,

Deb B.

The Cool Cats share with Quota

The Cool Cats gave a presentation at the March 19th evening meeting. In case you missed it; here are a few highlights from the evening (you can also read the minutes when they are posted).

Anastasia, Megan, Kim and Nicole get together for a photo.

Julie, Martel, and Summer enjoy the lemonade.

Anna and Cindy pose for a picture before dinner.

Quota’s theme of Building Awareness is a big hit. Marsalais tried on the hard hat.

It’s finally time to eat! Grace and Amy fill their plates with salad.

Nicole and Anastasia try some of the fried ravioli.

CJ enjoys his plate of vegetables.

The Cool Cats share their cheer with Quota. “We Do Our Best!”

Quota Cares about the Cool Cats

Cathy, Jan and Emily visited the Cool Cats on Wednesday. This group of students is part of the Grand Rapids Oral Deaf program. Quota supports this group through skiing lessons (look for more on that in the future), they have supported Quota by helping our Courtyard Gardening project. They are an inspiring group of middle school-aged boys and girls. They are not only getting their “schooling” but they are also learning everyday skills that the hearing world takes for granted. These eleven students have big hearts and are eager to share.

Jan and Cathy listen to Cindy (teacher of the Cool Cats) tell stories of what the Cool Cats have done.

These Cool Cats, whose motto is, “I have a dream”, work on various projects throughout the year. This year they are working making quilts and learning woodworking skills by making corn hole games. They sell these items and use half of the proceeds to give to a charity of their choice. The other half of the proceeds goes towards something for themselves. Like paying the way for one of their friends to join them on their skiing lessons.

The girls work on the quilts. They are currently working on a quilt for a baby boy.

They tie the floss in knots to hold the batting in place and to give the quilt a “finished” detail.

They also learn how to sew perfect squares on the sewing machine.

Here they are showcasing all of the quilts they have completed.

The boys are working on the boards for a bean bag toss game.

They use a jig to get the corners square.

One of the boys sands down the edges of the board.

The Cool Cats are an inspiration. Jan, Cathy and Emily left amazed at the focus, camaraderie and what big hearts the Cool Cats possess. Make sure you come back and visit to see more of the Cool Cats!

Christmas lunch with our Foster Friends

Tuesday the 16th, Members of Quota had the chance to spread some Christmas cheer with DHHS. The two groups met at the Old Country Buffet in Roger’s Plaza. The two groups ate lunch together. One Quotarian noted how quiet the lunch was. All of the guests from DHHS were busy signing away. When everyone was sufficiently stuffed from the extensive buffet, gifts brought from Quota members were handed out to our friends from DHHS.

Deb explains to both groups that when she calls out a name, that person should raise their hand. They will then be handed their gift. They are to wait and open them on her signal. Everyone has to wait and open them together!

Everyone eagerly awaits as all of the presents are handed out. There are a few who try to peek, but the Quota elves did a good job of wrapping up all of those presents.

Then on Deb’s signal, everyone tore into their packages!

This gentleman was very excited to receive his own, brand new pillow!

This is the gentleman who asked for scrap booking supplies and thanked us many times for the fantastic supplies he received!

This woman was very excited about her sweater. It will definitely keep her warm on these cold winter days!

This young woman is working hard to get her new bracelets apart. But we didn’t have any scissors, so she moved on to her next present.

To see their faces as they showed their excitement at these gifts was truly the reason for the season. Thank you to DHHS and Deb for organizing this lunch! What a wonderful way to share the Christmas spirit!

Merry Christmas!