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


Why, Do Babies Fly Planes?

This question comes up when we say “we bought Pilot Caps” for deaf infants at 2 local schools.

Pilot Cap

Babies don’t fly planes, but some have cochlear implants, or hearing aids, and the caps help them to stay in place.


This thank you from a teacher says it all:

Pilot Caps“Dear Quota Club,

Thank you so very much for the donation to receive 10 pilot caps for our deaf babies.  It is so important for the babies to keep their hearing aid(s) in and the pilot caps do wonders to achieve this goal.”


Jane Swainston

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program at Northview

What will they think of next?

Below is an article on new technology being developed for deaf and hard of hearing individuals. (You can also click the link here.)

Read more on:    Asia | International News

Researchers have developed a novel computer system that enables deaf people to translate gestures used in sign language into text. Using the new technology, people who are deaf or hard of hearing can simply type words and sentences using a keyboard and read those typed to them, researchers said. Researchers Microsoft Asia and the Institute of Computing Technology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in this latest effort turned to Microsoft’s Kinect device. They showcased the software that has been developed for the Kinect that successfully translates American Sign Language (ASL) into text, Phys.Org reported.
The system operates in two modes: The first, called simply Translation Mode, translates physical hand or body movements into text or speech. The second, called Communication Mode, allows a person speaking in ASL to communicate with someone else who is communicating in typed English. The system uses an Avatar to translate text coming from someone typing text on a keyboard, then converts their response to text and sends it back to the other person. The demonstration by researchers showed that the system is capable of translating sentences, not just words, a significant step forward.
The researchers stressed that their system is still a work in progress but hope to eventually create a system that is fully functional and reasonably inexpensive. Researchers said that would mean a Kinect based communication system that operates entirely with hand gestures and spoken words – all in real time. Also, it would allow for conversion to other sign language dialects as well.

May 2013 President’s Message (with the photo)

Quota International is all about you. Yes, it’s about service for the deaf and hard-of-hearing and disadvantaged women and children, but you are the instrument Quota uses to accomplish that mission.

Knowing how important you are to the big picture, Quota has developed so many resources you can use to see what we do, see how you fit, and see the result. If you’ve never gone to the Quota International website, here is the address for members:

While you’re there you can check your membership record; update your address, change your email address, sign up to receive the Quota Quick Update in your inbox, or just get general information about Quota. What if you’re not getting email updates? Maybe they don’t have your email address. At the very least, you can contact them at and let them know you don’t receive anything. You’ll find that contact information on the website.

There are development manuals, training resources, tools for your committee, awards that our club can compete in and receive recognition for, and usually a poll (a fun, fast, and easy way to voice your opinion).

The International President, Laura Lahman, has a message posted here. Currently, she is introducing our new executive director, Barbara Schreiber.

Did you know that we have a Friendship Club? What is that, you ask? The Friendship Club Program matches your club with another club in Quota’s worldwide network so that your members may benefit by linking with another community, sharing ideas, and making friends across the globe. Grand Rapids’ friendship club is Opotiki, New Zealand. When I was at the International Convention in July 2012, the women in this club specifically sought me out. I had sisters in New Zealand and didn’t even know it!! Here are our smiling faces.

There are neat things for sale that have Q’s on them. Click here to check it out.

I would suggest you visit the site often. The first time, just explore. Quota is International, after all. Consider it traveling the world as you look over all the special events and opportunities that are there. It’s a good feeling to know that you’re part of something bigger, but that without you, it just wouldn’t happen.

HLA’s 5th Anniversary Event at the JW Marriott

As a Quota member, it is encouraging to know that the part our Club plays in fulfilling its mission of serving the local and global communities on service to the deaf and the hearing impaired is part of a greater force.  This became very evident while attending  HLA’s 5th Anniversary event at the JW Marriott June 15, 2009.

Not only were attendees able to experience the hearing loop system but an interpreter and captionist were provided.

Chris Jacques, President of HLA-GR welcomed everyone to the event and set the stage for some well known speakers.

First, US Representative Vern Ehlers shared with the group the “Hearing Aid Assistance Tax Credit Act (H.R.1646) he is trying to get passed.  This would provide a tax credit of up to $500.00 per hearing aid, available once every 5 years, towards the purchase of a hearing aid, available to: 1) individuals age 55 and over, or 2) those purchasing a hearing aid for a dependent.  The bill includes a $200,000/year income-eligibility cap.

Following Mr. Ehlers, Richard M. DeVos, Founder of Amway Corporation was presented with the HLA-GR Appreciation Award.  Mr. DeVos stressed that “communication” is not just hearing but conveying your message in positive ways.  He emphasized that it doesn’t matter what time it is.  It is YOUR time and the only time you have so deal with things NOW!

Another well known speaker, Professor David G. Myers, author of “A Quiet World – Living with Hearing Loss”, (click here for his website) spoke on different kinds of hearing loss.  In addition to technologies available, there are various adjustments that can be made to help the hard of hearing such as holding a meeting in a quiet place at a small table with lots of lighting so you can see the other person’s eyes and hands.  He sees hearing aids as glasses for the ears. He went on to further discuss many of the technologies available for assistive listening and especially what a difference the T-coil is making.  He mentioned some of the places that are now looped such as the Grand Rapids Airport, DeVos Convention Center, churches and taxis in London.  In addition, New York City is trying to get 642 subway booths looped.

He encourages all to DREAM BIG and “LET’S LOOP AMERICA”!

Mr. Myers’ message of dreaming big was carried on with the next speaker, Bill Barkeley.  Mr. Barkeley is a motivational speaker who is deaf-blind and who successfully climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro (you can read more about his adventure here).

What an inspiration!!!!!!!!!!!

He believes that sometimes restraints help you go somewhere.  His restraints took him to the top of the mountain.

He wanted to reach the summit so he could get his message out to not let disabilities define you – you define your own abilities and dreams can come true.

As the audience sat teary eyed, the program ended with Keith Brautigam, Calvin College Professor of Music, singing “Climb Every Mountain”.

As all the information and positive words were flowing, a central theme emerged throughout the morning –


Truley Inspired!