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The Decibels Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Deaf & Hearing Impaired Centers, Disabilities, Education, Human Services, Philanthropy, Public Foundations, Special Education

Mission: The Decibels Foundation’s mission is to ensure that: - children with hearing loss and their families receive specialized early intervention services; - they have access to necessary technology and equipment, and; - the professionals working with this population in school settings are knowledgeable about the challenges these children face and are supported in helping these students succeed both academically and socially. We fulfill this mission by funding early intervention programs for children with hearing loss and their families, such as the Minute Man Arc Early Intervention Program for Children with Hearing Loss in Concord. Decibels also helps to educate educators by offering workshops and training sessions for professionals who are working with children using hearing aids and cochlear implants in regular education settings.

Results: This year alone, our donors helped us do some incredible things. We've continued the support of weekly playgroups, speech therapy and parent support groups, while expanding to include a Baby Group. We hosted a successful full-day workshop, attended by 140 professionals on 'Meeting the Needs of Young Children with Hearing Loss.' We also gifted $27,500 to various programs at Children's Hospital Boston, including the Sound Start Hearing Aid Loan Bank and the Cochlear Implant Spare Parts Bank. None of this would be possible without our valued supporters. Your impact over the past ten years has resulted in the following incredible achievements: - The cornerstone of the Decibels Foundation's work is the Minute Man Arc Early Intervention Program for Children with Hearing Loss. We understand that children with hearing loss need specialized services during the crucial early years of development. 64 children and their families have benefited from this program since its inception. - As more than 80 percent of children who are or were hearing impaired now attend their local schools, part of our mission is to ensure these educators understand what it takes to teach a child with hearing loss. Since 2008, our Education Specialist, Dr. Honore Weiner has provided 785 consultative hours to local school districts for 44 school-age kids with hearing loss. - Children with hearing loss need the support of knowledgeable professionals. Since 2007, the Decibels Foundation has hosted five full-day workshops covering four different hearing loss related topics. Over 450 teachers, speech therapists, and professionals working with children with hearing loss have attended and rated the workshops an average score of 1.4 out of 5 (1 being the highest). - In an effort to encourage the best and brightest to pursue careers helping children with hearing loss, the Decibels Foundation has awarded $30,000 to our Decibels Scholars. To date, five top students in the Graduate Program of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Emerson College have received this honor.

Target demographics: Children with hearing loss (birth to 21 years old) and their families.

Programs: Donate proceeds from charitable events serving deaf children

Community Stories

40 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 4

My daughter was diagnosed at 3 months with hearing loss. We were devasted.Since starting the decibels foundation my daughter is doing great!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am, to the Decibel Group, called, "Nana June". My grandson Christopher and I were at this group every
Wednesday for a year. My daughter, Heidi, is a school teacher in Concord, Ma. and could not take Christopher to his group on each Wednesday. So I did. This group is a caring group of people who
know so much about the children and their disability. Christopher has bilteral hearing loss and if it
wasn't for this group, he would never have been the child he is now. I went into a one on one session each Wednesday where the parents or grandpaentns would talk about their trials and tribulations with their children's hearing loss. My heart went out to them. We became a stong caring group of people
who had one thing in common - a child with hearing loss. God bless this group.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Decibels was a huge help! When we arrived we knew no one else that had a child with hearing loss and they provided such a great network of families and support for us as parents, and such a great learning environment for our son. The people there are just great, incredibly helpful and supportive.

Previous Stories
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Client Served

Rating: 5

I found out about the Decibels Foundation when my son with hearing loss was about 10 months old (he is now 2 1/2). It has been a live-saver in providing education about the resources available to our family. The connections with other families are so helpful. I have a far better understanding of my son's needs and experience from my interactions with the staff and families associated with the Foundation. My ability to advocate for my son and his needs has been so profoundly improved. I can't begin to express how grateful I am that this organization exists. I only wish all families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing could have access to the wonderful resource that is the Decibels Foundation.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We stepped into an unfamiliar world when we found out that our son had hearing loss. We didn't know how to best advocate for our son, or even what he needed. It was pretty lonely.

With the help of the Decibels Foundation, we've found access to critical services and our son is doing very well. As parents, we've found a community of that faces similar challenges that we can learn with. Our son receives speech therapy, attends playgroups with other children with hearing loss, and we as parents receive training in how to better advocate for our children as they outgrow Decibel's sponsored programs.

Simply put, these services don't exist without organizations like the Decibels Foundation. I can't say enough good things about Decibels or the community it has helped create!

Board Member

Rating: 4

The services that The Decibels Foundation helps fund are invaluable to the children and families that receive them. This foundation is unique and provides deaf children critical early childhood services that they may otherwise not have access to.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Decibels Foundation is an invaluable resource for Boston/ metro west families by providing best in class support services for children with hearing loss and their families. By funding and supporting these critical programs the Decibels Foundation is able to ensure that kids and families are provided with a solid foundation in which to build from.

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a parent of a child with bilateral hearing loss, the Decibels Foundation has been an invaluable resource. Through their support and services, they helped my family feel control, direction, and hope. We know we have a reliable resource to find out about technology, services, and educational options. My daughter attends the toddler program, and her speech development and socialization are on par with other children her age. Without Decibels, we would not feel as hopeful as we do for our daughter's continued success.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son is now 4 but we found the Decibel's Foundation when he was 15 months and they saved his life. He got the speech he needed and they helped boost his confidence for the transition into pre-school. The Foundation gives endless contributions to this minority disability population...

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son entered the EI that the Decibel's Foundation helped to create after we had been in another program and received no help. The help my son received was life changing. He was able to get the services he needed while I was able to get the support I needed as a parent. These are some of the most generous people I know!!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

As the father of a child born with hearing loss, I would like to acknowledge how the Decibels Foundation (Maynard, MA) has been anda continues to be an important contributor to the resources, opportunities and support we rely upon in our efforts to provide our daughter with the skills and abilities she truly needs. Thanks to Decibels, we are confident that our daughter will be able to meet any and all challenges despite her hearing loss. Simply, the staff, supporters and folks associated with the Decibels Foundation are some of the very best people I have ever met, and they deserve recognition and thanks for the much-needed work they do.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I found Decibels when looking for a high school internship opportunity that involved community service. I was able to work closely with both Decibels and organizations they support including Minute Man Arc. My experience with Decibels was so much more than I expected, teaching me important life lessons, especially the importance of passion for what you do and the astounding ability to give so much of your time and dedication in order to help others. This organization is truly one of a kind and is one of the best.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My two-year-old daughter was born profoundly deaf and now has bilateral cochlear implants. Since she was 5 months old, she has attended an early intervention playgroup specifically for children with hearing loss. Without the support of the Decibels Foundation, this type of playgroup would not exist. My daughter gets focused sign-supported instruction from amazing, caring teachers, who all have experience in working with deaf and hard of hearing children. My husband and I can certainly see her improvement in communication, both spoken and signed. While the children attend the playgroup, parents can participate in a support group, which has been a tremendous help to our family in this journey, both practically and emotionally. Without Decibels helping us to make sense out of the information overload, we might not be in the same, good, place that we are today.

Ceida C.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son attends an Early Intervention group, supported by Decibels, specifically designed for children with hearing loss, one of only two such groups that I know of in Massachusetts or country for that matter. It creates a community, a support group, educates the children, educates the parents, educates local school districts, solves practical problems, and raises awareness for the hearing loss community - all of which are in short supply when a family receives a new diagnosis of hearing loss. One of Decibels's missions is to bring all of this to more families in more geographical areas. My family is very grateful to have been lucky enough to access this community of families and supportive professionals. We do not take it for granted!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It was an absolute pleasure to work as an intern for the Decibels foundation. Internships are typically hard to come by as a college student so I was thrilled to be given this opportunity. As uncommon as internships are in my field, it is even more uncommon to work for employers who truly care about the people who work for them. From the beginning, they made it clear that they wanted to make this experience beneficial and exciting for me. They went out of their way to find opportunities for me to meet professionals in my field and gain experiences that I would otherwise never have had. They took the time to train me and teach me skills that are essential to being a successful working professional. They also gave me opportunities to get involved in all aspects of the foundation. I was involved in everything from researching early intervention programs to working on fundraisers. I felt like an integral part of the team and the lessons that I learned and experiences that I had were absolutely invaluable.
The Decibels Foundation team is extremely passionate about their work and dedicated to helping children with hearing loss have bright and full futures. They are caring and giving people who deserve to be recognized for their commitment to providing exceptional services to children with hearing loss and their families. The Decibels Foundation Internship is unmatched and it was a privilege to work with such amazing people.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son attends EI group supported by Decibels. It's fantastic - I see how his communication skills improve with each class. Decibels make a huge impact on my son's development.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Decibels has made all the difference in my child's life. Diagnosed with hearing loss at birth, my son has been a client here since he was 3 months old. Through Decibels we receive speech therapy, progress updates and consultation for pre-school. We are tremendously grateful for the wonderful service we receive here. Thank you.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

Decibels is a fantastic organization. They have helped my son tremendously by providing access to speech therapy, music therapy and connecting with other parents of children with hearing loss. My family will be forever grateful for this wonderful organization. Truly life changing.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I want to acknowledge the enormous gratitude my family has for the work Decibels does. I think very highly of the program and saw it as an integral part of my son's development and success in life.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

When children are diagnosed with hearing loss, it is often devastating to families, and then figuring out how to cover the costs of care - that is, fitting hearing aids and maximizing their use - can turn focus away from the child receiving care and figuring out the finances. This foundation "buys time" for families to refocus on what's best for the child, knowing there's time to seek funding to cover the costs of audiological care.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Decibels does a tremendous job supporting children and families with hearing loss.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I’m writing this review from a waiting room at Children’s Hospital while my daughter undergoes her second cochlear implant surgery. I’ve got about five hours to sit here, and I’ve spent a lot of it pondering just how lost I would have been over the past 18 months without the support offered by the Decibels Foundation. The answer is, “almost completely.”

I simply can’t imagine navigating the emotions (frustration, guilt, anger, sadness, pride) or the logistics (picking surgeons, finding a dispensing audiologist, how to start preparing for IEPs and school) of having a deaf child without Decibels’ help. Through the foundation, we’ve found exceptional professionals to help our daughter develop spoken and signed language and to help us figure out which questions to ask and how to get answers. Just as importantly, the Decibels Foundation has introduced us to a network of families with whom we can share, vent, laugh, and (occasionally) cry. It’s become one of the most important influences on our lives.

I constantly tell friends and family members, that we’re the lucky ones: this is the best time and place in the history of the world to have a deaf child. I say that, in large part, because of the ways that the Decibels Foundation has given us information, hope, and support. We will be eternally grateful for all that the foundation has done, and we look forward to working with them over the coming years.

In short, if you are looking for ways to have your donations make a disproportionately large impact on the lives of families in need, I urge you to support the Decibels Foundation. They’re good people, doing amazing and important things.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The founders of The Decibels Foundation and the many families who volunteer to support its activities illustrate the astounding resilience of parents. They help other families while striving to understand and meet the needs of their own young children. The hard work and creativity of The Decibels Foundation has greatly improved the landscape in our region for children who are deaf or hard of hearing and their families. The creativity never stops, on the fundraising end (who wouldn't be grabbed by Stink Week?) and on the giving end. Imagine a playroom for toddlers who can hear speech only with electronic gear in a room that has far less background noise echoing around than the usual classroom. The Decibels Foundation created it. Imagine such a parent-run foundation gifting significantly to the special projects of a major pediatric hospital, Boston Children's Hospital, where I am privileged to serve as the habilitative audiology program director. Decibels' gifts to our hearing aid loan bank, as one example, have allowed tiny infants to hear their parents' voices without waiting weeks or month for funding. The Decibels Foundation has visions for future projects, including training a generation of speech and hearing clinicians to learn from, work with, support, and teach caregivers to help children use their hearing and develop rich language skills. With support, The Decibels Foundation could improve the landscape and open doors for these children on a broader scale than our community.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As the Education Specialist for the Decibels Foundation, I experience first hand the extraordinary impact that the charity has had on the lives of children with hearing loss. The support and services that the children and their families have received through the Decibels Foundation have resulted in remarkable outcomes. Many of these children not only achieve but excel in educational programs in their local schools. They are able to access learning and participate in the social experiences in typical learning environments. They are competitive and contributing members of their school communities and the greater communities in which they reside.

Gale2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Decibels is a compilation of stellar individuals who work tirelessly and effectively for children with hearing loss and their families. A bond is created among the Decibels family that reaches far beyond the day to day functioning. Families are connected to each other in extraordinarily meaningful ways and professionals are educated to offer the very best information on state of the art strategies to ensure that each child reaches his/her potential. Decibels raises the bar for all organizations serving children with hearing loss and their families.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our son was diagnosed with hearing loss when he was born. At first we were worried, scared, uncertain about what he would need and how we would find the right ways to take care of that need. Once we were connected with the amazing people at Decibels, we realized that there was a whole team of people who would provide information, offer advice, do amazing fundraising to be sure that the programs children with hearing loss need would function at a superb level - and they also give the kids an opportunity to know each other (so our son knows he's not the only one who wears something in his ears) and gives the parents an invaluable community of support, encouragement and companionship as we all take care of our kids.

Colleen21

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our daughter Erin was born profoundly deaf. At the age of three months we started going to Minuteman Arc in W. Concord MA. Through Minuteman we got involved with The Decibels Foundation. Before Decibels we felt lost, confused, and scared. The people at Decibels helped us with so much information and were so caring in every way. We really don't know what we would have done without them being there for us!

Zach W.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our son was born with a hearing loss. We learned about the hearing loss through the newborn screening testing. We met with many individuals and organizations prior to being referred to Minuteman ARC in W. Concord, MA through which we got involved with The Decibels Foundation. While everyone prior to Minuteman and Decibels were caring and well intentioned, Decibels and Minuteman were simply unmatched in their compassion, their breadth and depth of services offered, and their general professionalism! I have and will continue to recommend The Decibels Foundation to anyone dealing with a child with hearing loss. They are, simply, the best!

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a board member, I am always astounded by the work being done by Decibels. With funds being cut everywhere it is wonderful to see that children with hearing loss and their families can still receive early intervention and support. It does a world of good and helps immensely. Without Decibels and other such foundations the children would have a much more difficult time adjusting to the world. Keep up the good work.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter, Ellie, was diagnosed with hearing loss at age 2 1/2. The Decibels Foundation has helped us in so many ways: providing uplifting support, timely information, high quality services, and a general sense of "belonging".

Chloie

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

It is through the Decibels' organization that we have learned about the challenges and advances in hearing loss. I have seen how tirelessly my sister-in-law works with Decibels and the great resources it has provided for my nephew. It is amazing for me to see the programs and the positive results they have provided. I never thought that my nephew would adapt as well as he has and I know that it is through the hard work of Decibels' organization.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Decibels Foundation is a group of parents, professionals and interested people who tirelessly raise money to support programs for deaf and hearing impaired young children and their families. They are also concerned with educating professionals, caregivers and students who work with and support these children and their famillies. Money raised funds specialized early intervention, parent support groups, graduate student scholarship, specialized equipment, resource information, and more.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Decibels is an organization that provides excellent support for children with hearing loss and their families. In addition to supporting providers who are involved in direct service provision, they support consultative and educational services for other programs and schools, and a scholarship program for speech and language pathology graduate students interested in working with deaf and hard of hearing children. Over time their program for infants and children aged birth to three with hearing loss has become one of the Early Intervention programs against which others are measured. I have had the opportunity to work closely with many of the children and families, as well as other involved in the program, and I can vouch for their total dedication to these children with the goal of giving them the fundamentals to become successful communicators, allowing them to have access to academic achievement and normal social development.

Heidi25

Client Served

Rating: 4

The Decibels Foundation made a lifelong impact on our family. Our daughter was able to recieve the critical services she needed to overcome the challenges associated with hearing loss. My husband and I were also able to receive the critical information, education and access to top language and medical specialists in the field. We are forever grateful.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Decibels is a wonderful organization that helps kids get off the ground towards reaching their potential despite hearing loss. With all their support- and alliance with Boston Children's Hospital they really help these kids get the educational start and healthcare they deserve to become independent learners.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Decibels is focused on helping children with hearing loss and their families. The programs and services help children with hearing loss to achieve outstanding results. My daughter's school was educated by the Decibels consultant as to which accomodations she would need in the classroom. She is comfortable in her classroom setting and has excelled in her education achievements in large part to the training and services provided by this organization.

Comments ( 1 )

profile

b.dressel 11/08/2012

Thank you for your kind words! We're so glad to hear how well your daughter is doing! -The Decibels Foundation

Client Served

Rating: 5

I can not imagine where my family would be without the Decibels Foundation. Everyone involved is caring, educated and has changed our lives for the better. Our daughter would not be doing as well as she is without this incredible foundation. They have educated us, supported us and will continue to support us for years to come. They have helped us navigate our daughter's unique journey into the hearing impaired world and given us the confidence and support needed. We have made lifelong friends and feel extremely lucky to know these amazing people that have supported our daughter and our family.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Decibels Foundation has changed our family's present and future. Last year our newborn son was diagnosed with hearing loss in both ears. He would need hearing aids in order to develop oral language and communication. We were also urged to have our 2 year old daughter's hearing tested and discovered, to our amazement, that she too had moderately-severe hearing loss and would need hearing aids. Living in a part of the country with an abundance of world class medical institutions and centers for learning, we expected that support, advocacy and information would be easy to come by. We were astonished to learn that the opposite was true. After disheartening months of searching and finding no significant help in the areas of auditory development, speech therapy and appropriate developmental assistance, we stumbled upon the Decibels Foundation and one of the vital hearing loss programs that this foundation supports. Within weeks our children were involved in substantive programs with knowledgeable and caring staff. Our children were with kids just like them and they received the therapies that they needed in order to benefit from their new technology. Our family went from one in crisis to one in community. From a family that felt powerless to one that has become empowered. A family in despair to one that has found laughter and so much joy in our new normal. We are so grateful to the Decibels Foundation for giving our children such a great start in our family and our community. Because of the amazing work of Decibels, we can communicate effectively as a family with each other and our children can look forward to a future fully integrated into the life of our community. The work of the Decibels Foundation is profound, transformative and persisting.

Mark67

Donor

Rating: 5

My daughter is deaf and has had her life profoundly impacted in a positive way by programs that would not have existed without the support of the Decibels Foundation. They help a lot of kids.

Donor

Rating: 5

Decibels is nothing short of a miraculous resource for children with hearing loss and their families. Hearing loss is a low incidence birth defect; however, intervention before 6 months of age means the difference between a child in regular, mainstream kindergarten vs special programs and services at great cost to the school district. By providing funding for birth to three programs, parent education, and financial assistance for the exorbitantly expensive hearing equipment, Decibels is ensuring a successful outcome for hundreds of children in the Metro Boston area. Parents in particular benefit from their support, at a time when they are overwhelmed with how to take care of their new baby and this disability. They have been tireless in their fundraising, and have won awards such as the CLASSY Award for nonprofits. They are truly an asset to the community!