Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Merry Month of May Chapter Development News

Good afternoon, everyone,
I hope you are doing well and that you are enjoying a wonderful spring. I feel like HLAA Chapters are really having a Spring Awakening, if you will.  I can feel the energy and enthusiasm buzzing through the phone calls, emails, and newsletters.
A lot of requests have been coming in to assist chapters with important chapter business:
  • helping maintain IRS tax-exempt status by meeting IRS requirements for 501c3 nonprofit organizations,
  • assisting with their annual Chapter Updates,
  • maintaining up-to-date chapter contact information on the HLAA website, 
  • guidance on utilizing the HLAA brand in chapter communications,
  • and generally just being there to provide chapter leaders with whatever direction, program options, and support they might need to deliver the HLAA mission to their members and communities.
I hope I have been able to respond to your requests in a timely fashion and to provide the assistance for which you reached out.  If not, please do not hesitate to ask me again.  I am still discovering many exciting new things about HLAA and its chapters!
A number of volunteers have reached out with a desire to establish new HLAA chapters.  Interest in living better with hearing loss and the role HLAA chapters play in this has never been higher.  You can expect to read about many new chapters as time goes on.  HLAA's newest chapter is the HLAA Chapter of Midlands, South Carolina which held its first meeting as an official HLAA Chapter in April. You may reach out to Chapter President Dave Bitters with a warm HLAA welcome at dabitters@gmail.com.
If you or someone you know would like information about starting an HLAA Chapter, please go to the Start A Chapter section of the HLAA Leader Support Page http://www.hearingloss.org/content/chapter-start 
Other volunteers are working hard to revitalize existing chapters.  Off the top of my head, recently I've had the honor of working with the Central Illinois Chapter, the SW Ohio Chapter, the City of Orange CA Chapter, the Miami FL Chapter, the Prescott AZ Chapter.  I am working with others as well.  I cherish the opportunity to work with each and every one of them.  If you or someone you know would like to check out some innovative chapter revitalization ideas, please look on the Run A Strong Chapter section of the HLAA Leader Support Page http://www.hearingloss.org/content/chapter-run.
Some very talented individuals have applied to become HLAA State Chapter Coordinators and I could not be more excited about this.  Coordinators are volunteers who work closely with Chapter Development (A.K.A. me) and they play a key role in HLAA.  There is one of me and about 150 of you.  State Chapter coordinators provide the individualized assistance I am not always able to provide.  HLAA does provide limited travel expense reimbursement to coordinators (up to $750 per year for HLAA-related travel expenses).  HLAA Chapter Coordinators: 
  • advise, support, and strengthen existing chapters
  • initiate and coordinate the development of new chapters
  • identify and nurture potential chapter leaders
Our goal is for each state to have at least one chapter coordinator and for every urbanized area of every state to have at least one HLAA Chapter. (An urbanized area is defined as 10,000 people surrounding a central city with a population density of at least 1,000 people per square mile.) For more information about becoming a State Chapter coordinator, please go to the Coordinators section of the HLAA Leaders Support Page http://www.hearingloss.org/content/chapter-coordinators
You've probably figured out that volunteers are the life blood of HLAA. Our organization is so fortunate to have volunteers who are passionate about building strong HLAA chapters and opening the world of communication to people with hearing loss.  I am honored to support your efforts.  If you would like to become more involved or if you have ideas about how we can forge a stronger collaboration, please reach out. Let's explore possibilities together. 
Thank you, each and every one of you, for sharing your time and talents with HLAA.   As Rocky Stone said when he started HLAA, "Hearing loss is a daily challenge you can overcome.  You do not have to hide your hearing loss.  You do not have to face hearing loss alone."  Our HLAA chapters are the living legacy of Rocky Stone's words. Stay tuned, folks, we're in for an exciting ride!
All the best,
Valerie Stafford-Mallis
HLAA Director of Chapter Development

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