I was another day at the desk, and like most days involves the elusive effort to find and develop resources for those we want to help. This particular day seemed to focus on CELEBRATE SOUND, our national fundraising event. Part of the day I was reviewing a proposal for a new series of training videos to support volunteers leading events. This was an interesting counter point to an earlier in the day when I was making lists of possible volunteers to host a CELEBRATE SOUND event in New Jersey. But as mid-afternoon approached, the energy and clarity of the morning had become mired in the reality of the challenges we face in these and the other issues pouring in through emails and calls. Continue reading
Plugged In, But Not Clued In
The second in a series on one man’s experience in getting a cochlear implant
Well folks, it’s clear I have issues with written assignment deadlines. You needn’t take my word for it, since I have dozens of educators who will vouch for me. But enough groveling, because I have big news to announce. I have an installed cochlear implant! I had the surgery to install the implant at Boys Town National Research Hospital in Omaha, NE, June 16th. Continue reading
Myself I want to win the lottery; I want the physical vitality of my youth or even middle age, I want gas prices to go down during a holiday. We probably all have this list of things we want that are typically out of our control, or not even possible. There is nothing wrong with a bit unrealized fantasy in our life; it is probably even good for the mental health. That is assuming we also have an answer to the question – What is it you really want? Continue reading
It would be hard not to be in Sertoma long and not know of this tradition. I am sure this started with one member, in one club, and has now migrated and spread across the organization. It is always fun to watch the response of visitors and speakers at convention the first time they experience “I am proud to be a Sertoman”. It is a wonderful sentiment, but what does it mean, or maybe more to the point, is there a shared meaning.
This question is at the heart of our member’s expectations project. Can we identify the core of what it means to be a Sertoman? More important can we define what experience results in our pride of association. The answers are more than just knowledge, they are key to our ability to market and to attract others to join the family of Sertoma. People who would share and identify with our pride in “what”?
I cannot speak for others, but as we are going to ask, it only seems fair to begin with my feelings. Why am I proud to be a Sertoman?
Because we serve. For whatever reason or cause, we give our time and resources to help make life a little better in our communities. It is because as a group we embody one of the most important aspects of our civil society. That it is the people, not the government, or businesses, who have a right, yes I will say it, an obligation to take responsibility for the state of our society.
It is not pride based on what I do, or what my club does. That is not only somewhat self-centered, but also it limits the value and potential of Sertoma. The real source of our pride should be in embracing and supporting the service efforts of others and of the whole. It does not matter if it is recognizing the future leadership of youth through freedom and democracy essays, cleaning up a park, or fixing up an elderly persons home. It is all part of what defines Sertoma, and should be valued and shared by all.
But our pride also should not be limited to just what happens in a club. As Sertomans, we should have pride in our shared effort. It is through those efforts we make life better for people across the nation. It was such an effort that lead to required hearing screenings for every new born in the US. It is through a shared effort we support the largest scholarship program for deaf and hard of hearing students in the country.
Yes, I am proud to be a Sertoman. I have had the privilege to see this organization and its members at their best. Some of that I have seen through the history of our efforts, some during my 13 years as a member. It is an extraordinary thing that Sertoma tries to balance. It provides members great autonomy for their local service, while still supporting the shared service that defines us all, not as individuals, or as clubs, but as Sertomans.
My pride is challenged when I see acts that work to divide and isolate the efforts of members from Sertoma. There is not now, or never has been a “them and us” in Sertoma. At least not any more than you would see parents and children of a family as them and us. Such feelings exist only in the minds of those whose own pride does not allow them to have pride and respect in others. For me “proud to be a Sertoman” is pride in the difference we make as a family.
It has been a bit more than a month since convention, and we have just about finished approving the bills, debriefing the trainers, and reviewing the evaluations. Without a doubt, the convention is the single largest effort for staff and many of our volunteers each year. That is not to mention that it is the single largest budget item other than our grants and scholarships program. So why? Why if this event and others hold such a position in our investment of time and resources, do so few members participate? Continue reading
We had a couple of good guest blogs since convention, so I am picking up this week with my report/response to the 2014 Sertoma convention. I began with the closing banquet, and working back toward the start, one of the last session on Saturday afternoon was a Q & A session with the Board officers and the Executive Director. There were good questions and even better discussion. For those who see Sertoma exclusively from the club experience, and those of us who see it almost exclusively from the national perspective it is a time to remember that Sertoma has more than one dimension. Continue reading
My name is Jim Sharrick, and I am very hard of hearing. A year ago, I came to the conclusion that I would get a cochlear implant. It was not a sudden decision, and not my first step in dealing with my hearing loss. Mine is not a unique story, but one that I hope will be of interest to those facing, or the family of those facing similar decisions. Like any journey in life, it helps to know where it began. So I will start with the story of my journey to this point. Then I will share my experiences leading up to, and hopefully, following a successful installation. Continue reading
We as Sertomans should take advantage of the month of May as an opportunity to help educate our communities in our Mission of Hearing Health. This is an ideal time to discuss with your local media the many programs that we have in progress in the Hearing Health area as they will be aware of the national focus of this month. We can let others know about participating in our CELEBRATE SOUND Don’t Walk in Silence® events to raise awareness and fundraise so others can hear.
Tell others we need their help. Others can help by joining a Sertoma Club, or donating a hearing device. They can become a Friend of Sertoma and participate as a volunteer. They can affiliate with other like-minded people interested in hearing health issues and programs. They can make a donation to support our Mission.
Everyone knows someone that has a hearing issue and needs help, or be informed where help is available. Hearing is the number one health issue in men over 65, and number four with women. Hearing loss over time breaks down communication and causes individuals to be isolated. They no longer want to participate in activities. We should encourage hearing screenings for people over age 60 as part of their annual Wellness Program.
Hearing loss affects high school students and it is irreversible. Seventeen percent of high school student show they have the beginnings of hearing loss. May is a great opportunity to promote our SAFEEars! program. You could make the giveaways available to the school marching bands in your communities.
What a great time when with a national focus on our Sertoma Mission of Hearing Health to build new relationships, with organizations like NASCAR and NRA, where noise levels are a definite problem. Can you imagine the opportunities to further our mission with a relationship with these organizations? We have great opportunities available to us. May could be the beginning of something that could change the lives of many people in our communities.
I would like to thank my good friend Dr. Sherri Little, Dr. of Aud. for many of the facts in this article.
Don Bartelmay, Jr. Vice President