At our Starkey University workshop in July, we asked attending students to chronicle their experience through social media for a chance to go on a Starkey Hearing Foundation mission trip. Attendees were given a total of five clues; one before Starkey University, three during, and the final after Starkey University was over. Students were asked to sign up for LinkedIn, find a Starkey Hearing Foundation mission trip attendee and create a visual post, create a visual way to represent their #StarkeyU experience, and finally, to either write a blog create a short video highlighting how hearing care professionals can use their knowledge and skills to spread the gift of better hearing.
Our two lucky volunteers this year were Jared Anderson from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Michala Demars from the University of Northern Colorado.
Below are Jared and Michala’s blog entries on why they wanted to be part of a Starkey Hearing Foundation mission and what giving the gift of hearing can do for the world.
Jared and Michala will be going to Toluca, Mexico in October.
Jared Anderson, University of Illinois (Class of 2018)
“It’s a small world.” This is a common expression we have all heard after we have found an unexpected connection. But what if we were challenged to make the world a smaller place? Could we serve others the way we serve our own communities? Could we go above and beyond to make a difference for someone who does not speak the same language? Could we empower someone with hearing that is in need, but is thousands of miles away from that opportunity?
Audiology is built on a foundation of people from all different backgrounds striving to serve their own communities with the gift of hearing. If we challenge ourselves to live in a “small world” we can start by aligning ourselves with Starkey Hearing Foundation. By speaking as advocates for the foundation, we are speaking for a community that shares a single well for water. By supporting the foundation with a pair of recycled hearing aids, we are supporting a mother with the power of hearing who has never heard her baby laugh. By sharing our time with the foundation, we are sharing our time with the teenager who wants to attend school but is unable to hear the only teacher in the village.
When the audiology community supports the Starkey Hearing Foundation we connect with diverse communities all over the world. By sharing the gift of hearing and we make the world feel a little smaller.
A true passion cannot be contained by any boundaries. My passion is sharing my talents and abilities by giving the gift of hearing and I have been serving my direct community. I am ready to face the most challenging environments to reach those who need of the power of hearing outside my own community. I want to share my time and talents by working with people who will benefit from the same hearing opportunities that I provide, but who do not have that opportunity. As a team member with Starkey Hearing Foundation I can be part of a team that finds people in need, fits them with appropriate hearing aids, or even continues follow-up care. I desire to serve others on a global level and as a Starkey Hearing Foundation team member that dream can become a reality.
Michala Demars, University of Northern Colorado (Class of 2018)
Original blog link: http://adventuresofamisplacedvermonter.blogspot.com
“Starkey Hearing Foundation uses hearing as a vehicle to reflect caring and sharing and improve the lives of individuals, families, and communities around the world.” There are so many ways to care and share, and just one way is by providing a service we know best: audiology. There is need all around the world for food, water, medical help, the list goes on and on. Giving the gift of hearing aids to hundreds of thousands of people in need is something within Starkey’s realm of possibility and they have grasped it with both hands, putting forth an immense effort to improve individual lives and communities all over the world. It is life changing, for both those receiving the care and those giving it.
After speaking with several Starkey employees who have traveled all over the globe with the Starkey Hearing Foundation, I would love to volunteer on a mission myself. Hearing them talk about fitting thousands of hearing aids on people who have traveled hundreds of miles to meet them and waited hours to see a volunteer makes my heart seize up. The Starkey Hearing Foundation makes an enormous impact on peoples’ lives every day in a big, dramatic way. I want to be a part of it. But I can’t forget about the impact I make every day in the clinic.
As a first year graduate student at the University of Northern Colorado, I have fit a fair share of hearing aids and have seen what joy the gift of hearing can bring to those ready to accept it. One of my favorite experiences in my short career thus far was reprogramming hearing aids on a man who was once a wonderful musician, but hadn’t been able to stand the sound of music with his new aids. After adding a music program and making some slight adjustments, we tried out the sound by pulling up a YouTube video. I will never forget the look on his face when the first chords of Willie Nelson’s “Always on my Mind” came on. Spreading the gift of better hearing doesn’t have to mean going to the ends of the earth, you can make a big difference right in your own backyard.
To check out more from this year’s #StarkeyU, click here.