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2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit

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.

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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...

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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.