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
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.
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.
Professional with expertise in this field
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.
Professional with expertise in this field
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.