Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Letter to State and Chapter Leaders - November 2009

November 11, 2009



Dear Leaders,

Thirty years ago this month the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) was founded to bring attention to hearing loss.

At that time many people were skeptical that people with hearing loss could organize, since we were dispersed among the general population, in all walks of life, different socio-economic situations, and little in common but our hearing loss. What we had in common were communication needs that were not understood or taken into consideration at the policy level or even at home in the family environment. We were alone seeking help in coping with the daily challenges of hearing loss.

Fast Forward to 2009 – HLAA’s 30th Anniversary

Have we proved the skeptics wrong who said that people with hearing loss could not organize to effect change? Yes, we have! HLAA has pushed for laws allowing people with hearing loss to fully participate in society, our successes now require:

* Landline and cell phone to be compatible with hearing aids and cochlear implants.
* Television programs are captioned,
* Theaters and other public places must install assistive listening systems, and
* Courtrooms and classrooms must be made accessible.

Our advocacy work has resulted in two major milestones:

* Establishment of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIH), and
* Introduction of assistive listening devices to Americans during the 1981 White House Conference on Aging.

HLAA continues to influence policy for affordable products and services that make our world hearing and communication friendly. And daily, for 30 years, HLAA has helped real people with real problems.

The work of HLAA for 30 years has only been possible because YOU believe in the work we do and support us.

November is an important time for our organization. It is the time that we reflect on our past accomplishments and look forward to the future, and take pride in being the Hearing Loss Association of America. It is also the time when our Chapters from across the country celebrate Founders Day and assist in raising funds for the Chapter Development Office so that is can provide the ongoing support it provides to over 200 Chapters across the country and the new ones that form each month.

With your ongoing support the Chapter Development Office has been successfully able to:

* Launch a Wiki – a comprehensive HLAA website providing leadership support and information materials - http://www.hlaaleaderswiki.org,
* Reintroduce Chapter Development workshops at the HLAA Convention.
* Provided monthly web chats for Chapters.

In 2010 we plan to continue our efforts and:

* Hold a Leadership Training Workshop in Bethesda,
* Expand and improve Chapter/Leadership workshops at the Convention,
* Improve the accessibility of Chapter related monthly web chats.

Together we ask your Chapter to give a gift to HLAA to honor our past, but even more importantly, to ensure our future.

Please give whatever you can so that together we can be a part of a shining future for people with hearing loss. Help keep HLAA vibrant and keep proving the skeptics wrong who said 30 years ago that people with hearing loss can’t organize.

We can and together we are!

Sincerely,



Toni Barrient.......................................Christopher T. Sutton
Director of Chapter Development.........Director of Development & Education
And Member Services

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