Contribution from TD Charitable Foundation Gives Babies
with Hearing Loss a Sound Start
When TD Bank representatives, Tara K. Jean and Ruth Wilson arrived at the Sound Start early intervention class for parents and infants, the room was literally crawling with babies. Jean, Assistant Vice President and Store Manager of the TD Store in Denville and Wilson, Vice President Retail Market Manager, Morris County, simply took off their shoes and joined the children on the floor to make a rather unconventional, but very welcome check presentation.
On behalf of the TD Charitable Foundation, Jean and Wilson presented $5,000 to The Lake Drive Foundation to support the comprehensive early intervention services provided by The Sound Start Program for babies who are deaf and hard of hearing. On that particular day, families were meeting with Sound Start specialists in a classroom at The Lake Drive School for Children with hearing loss in Mountain Lakes to better understand their child’s needs and learn how to facilitate their child’s achievement.
The group meets weekly for support and education provided by a teacher of the deaf, occupational therapist, speech and language therapist and pediatric audiologist. Additionally, Sound Start professionals provide individual therapies in the families’ homes throughout northern and central New Jersey. At 18 months, toddlers in Sound Start can attend a full day intensive, inclusive nursery program also held at Lake Drive School. Learning side by side with hearing peers, at age three they graduate ready for preschool at Lake Drive or in their home communities.
“Ideally, babies identified with hearing loss should receive amplification and start early intervention by no later than six months old,” explains Dr. Jennifer Steinruck, the program’s audiologist. “We know the first three years are critical for brain development. But hearing aids and cochlear implants are not a miracle cure. It takes intensive therapies and committed parent involvement for children to learn to listen, speak, and attain communication skills comparable to their hearing peers. But we know it can be done.”
Handing out green TD Santa hats, Jean told the families “On behalf of TD Bank and the TD Charitable Foundation we’re proud to support The Sound Start Program. Ruth and I are here today because people in this community are more than customers to us. And as a parent of a toddler myself, I truly appreciate how important The Sound Start Program must be to your families.” Since its inception in 2002, the TD Charitable Foundation has contributed over $88 million in grant funding to non profit organizations in TD communities.
Founded in 1969, Sound Start has helped more than 1,000 infants and toddlers who are deaf and hearing impaired from throughout northern and central New Jersey develop the communication skills to achieve in school and fulfill their potential.
Despite the proven results, state funding covers less than one third of The Sound Start Program’s life changing services.
The Lake Drive Foundation for Children Who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to ensuring babies with hearing loss get the quality early intervention services they need, regardless of their families’ ability to pay. Through grants from organizations such as TD Charitable Foundation, individual donations, and events, The Lake Drive Foundation raises the funds necessary to maintain the dramatically life changing program.
Sound Start operates under the auspices of The Lake Drive Programs in Mountain Lakes which offers New Jersey’s most comprehensive continuum of educational opportunities for children with hearing loss from birth through high school graduation.
For more information about The Sound Start Program, newborn hearing screening, signs of hearing loss, or to make a donation visit www.lakedrivefoundation.org.
Calling all graduates – email your stories and photos to email@example.com.
Daniel DiDonna Graduated from The Lake Drive Programs and Mountain Lakes High School in 2007.
Daniel was diagnosed with hearing loss when he was 18 months old and wore hearing aids until he got a cochlear implant at 9 years old. An impressive student and athlete, Daniel graduated from Gallaudet University this year. He swam in the Deaflympics in Taiwan and volunteered with Global Reach Out empowering Deaf persons in Guatemala. Here, Daniel DiDonna shares his unforgettable experience teaching ASL to Deaf Students, Special Education Teachers, Parents, and Hospital Staff in the Marshall Islands.
“I believe the Deaf students there deserve so much more…”
“Iakwe! (Hello!) This summer I was stationed in Marshall Islands, located between Australia and Hawaii. I resided there for nearly 3 months working with Deaf students, parents, special education teachers, organizational members, and the hospital staff. My purpose in going was to become an American Sign Language instructor, providing workshops for all who wanted to learn how to communicate with Deaf children and adults.
“Ever since I became a student at Gallaudet, one of my goals was to experience a global internship. I am interested in international and comparative education, especially among the deaf communities in other countries. Exposing them to the importance of American Sign Language and Deaf identity; other Deaf youngsters can aspire to dream and succeed!
“I had to expose the community in the Marshalls that Deaf people can do anything but hear as well as the importance of having an early stage of language foundation, especially through the use of sign language. Not only that, I was there to promote awareness about needs that Deaf children require in the educational system and serve as a role model as a Deaf adult. I also went with another intern named Mela Langinbelang, a Gallaudet student who moved to Hawaii from the Marshalls at a young age after she became Deaf from a bad fever. I was extremely lucky to go there with an actual resident of the Marshall Islands because I got to meet her entire family, delve into a completely different cultural experience and exposing my soul to the unknown.
“I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but I’ve been sleeping on a palm mat on the floor since I’ve been here in the Marshall Islands. Jelina had provided me a small bed when I first arrived here, but as I learned that the Marshallese custom was sleeping on the floor on a mat, I wanted to try it out! At the beginning, my first few nights were pretty uncomfortable as the hard floor smacked against my bony hips and shoulders. However, after a few days I became used to the floor and found myself drifting off to sleep soundly.” From Daniel’s Blog
“We taught at the Rairok Elementary School in Majuro. The sight of Deaf education in the Marshall Islands was difficult for me to comprehend at first. As an American, I was provided with plenty of resources boosting my education on a completely new level. I barely struggled through my school years because I had interpreters and supportive parents who cared about my knowledge and abilities as a human being. Here, it is a whole different story. The Deaf children are neglected, not necessarily neglected, but deprived of their education because many adults simply do not know how to communicate with their hands. With this, many young students just sit in class and stare into space without understanding what is going on in the classroom when the regular teacher is teaching.
“There, all the schools lacked a centralized education for the Deaf and the resources used to teach was very limited. Working with few materials, I had to search for other ways to approach the students in getting them to understand what I was about to teach them. Unfortunately, the reading and education levels among the students were quite low. I worked with a couple of teenagers who did not know how to spell their own name, how old they were and so forth. However, the Deaf students have their own dialect sign language but isn’t sufficient enough to truly express how they think and feel. Going there as an American Sign Language instructor and role model, I was able to bring a new form of communication for the students—a language of self-expression.
“This week was filled with quite a lot of over-expressed and huge signs.. I reviewed the concept of birthday; month, day, and year. I mainly focused on self identity this week where the students learned how to express their birthday in a clear manner.” From Daniel’s Blog
“I found myself wondering how we interns would be able to teach almost 30 students each day for four hours if they had varying levels of knowledge. More and more questions began to swarm through my mind–and it did not help that the work ethic and pace of time is totally a 360 degree turn from what I am used to in America. Used to stress and typing a million term papers throughout my semesters, being on the go constantly and consistently getting every task done on time. Here, everyone is like “meeting time at 2:00” and then I find myself waiting in a chair in front of an empty table for at least an hour or two. This was one of the cultural frustrations I faced during the beginning of my internship, adjusting to Pacific Time. I thought I could chill to the max, but I was completely wrong.
“I found myself remembering that I was not in America anymore. I am just an intern who came here to help; I cannot change everything overnight despite my frustrations. I used the best of my knowledge and tools that would further support the community here and just keep in mind that I am an intern who is here to plant a seed. By planting the seed, I can only hope for the Marshallese to take in what Mela and I have taught them so far and build from there. As each day passes by, I am becoming more emotionally attached to the Pacific Islands.
“ I will be working with them again for the last two weeks of July in preparation for a talent show tobe performed in front of the community. This is a way to boost their self-confidence and express themselves in their Deaf identities, because in the end they can gain the respect from the community to a further extent. Quite exciting!”From Daniel’s Blog
“There was one student that really struck me, only a mere 3rd grader but she had the energy of a rebellious teenager. Mary, a small and tiny girl with the biggest smile and sparkly eyes resonated ever so strongly as Mela and I worked with her. She became “hungry” for knowledge, she wanted to learn more and more. Mela and I opened up her world to a new perspective, just because we gave her the ability to communicate with her hands. From that moment and on, we had a huge impact and changed her life forever. That kind of rewarding experience just brings me goose bumps every time I think about it.
Still today, I find myself wondering, “I actually went there and did all that? No way, it all feels like a big surreal dream that never happened in the first place” but I will always know this for sure, the memories and their people will always be cherished in my heart forever. I plan to go back again this summer for a longer term, I believe the Deaf students deserve so much more and what I did within three months there still doesn’t feel like I did enough. Someday soon, my spirit will find its way back to the Republic of the Marshall Islands!”
“ I still cannot believe I am experiencing this kind of opportunity; this is something that will stay with me forever as well as change my perspective on many things. Not only that, this makes me more appreciative of myself as a person, as a human being, and should be thankful for whatever life has to offer! From Daniel’s Blog
“I actually feel at peace with myself, quite satisfied with what I have achieved and done in the past 8 years. I set many ambitious goals, only to push myself past my limits, to see what I was and could be capable of.” From Daniel’s Blog
Daily Record writer Cara Townsend recently visited The Lake Drive Program's Ivy Nursery, New Jersey's only full day inclusive early intervention for toddlers with hearing loss.
Enjoy this captivating article and photos of Ivy Nursery at:
Enrollment is now open for September, 2012. The inclusive Ivy Nursery program is open to families in Mountain Lakes and teachers in the Mountain Lakes School district who have toddlers with hearing age 18 months to three years old. Children may attend half days or full days.
Call Michele Klimovitch at 973-299-0166 for a tour.
Are you looking for a little way to make a big difference in the future of a child?
New Jersey state funding covers only one third of the cost of The Sound Start Program.
For just $5,000, you can underwrite a scholarship to give a child a sound start for one year and change a life forever.
Make a pledge. You can pay over time. Or support just part of a child’s Scholarship.
We’ll invite you for a tour of Lake Drive School with a special visit to Ivy Nursery. Over the year, we’ll update you on the tremendous impact your gift is making on children in the program. Your generosity will be rewarded when you learn about their first words, favorite stories and wonderful achievements.
For more information and a tour of the Lake Drive School and Sound Start Program, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 973-265-4168.
Lake Drive's Michele Klimovitch and Trish Filiaci Accept the Healthcare Heroes Award
On June 21, 2011 at the Palace in Somerset Park in Somerset, New Jersey, The Lake Drive Programs for Children Who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Mountain Lakes, NJ was named winner in the category of Education Hero-Organization, in the 2011 NJBIZ NJ Healthcare Heroes Awards.
The Healthcare Heroes awards program recognizes excellence and innovation and honors individuals and organizations making a significant impact on the quality of healthcare in New Jersey. More than 350 guests attended the annual event to celebrate the finalists and hear the winners announced in each category. Finalists and winners were chosen from more than 100 nominations by an independent panel of judges including: Donald J. Cinotti, MD, Medical Society of NJ; David Knowlton, New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute and D.N. Lombardi, Ph.D., USMC®.
The Education category recognizes individuals and organizations making a difference in health education either in the community or the industry. The Lake Drive Programs for Children Who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing received the top award in the category for the wide-ranging health and educational services the school provides to hearing impaired children and their families. Lake Drive offers New Jersey’s most comprehensive continuum of educational opportunities for children with hearing loss from birth to high school graduation. The team of specialists includes teachers of the deaf, speech and language pathologists, pediatric audiologists, physical and occupational therapists, clinical social workers, psychologists, and dysphagia experts offering the only eating and drinking skills program in a public school setting in New Jersey.
The award also reflects the emphasis Lake Drive puts on early intervention. Lake Drive’s Sound Start Early Intervention Program is the most intensive in the state, with a full day inclusive program for toddlers 18 months through 3 years old. In Ivy Nursery, toddlers with and without hearing loss learn side by side in a specially created environment to enhance auditory learning. Designed to take full advantage of the developing brain, Ivy Nursery focuses on language, communication and literacy skills, physical health, motor development, social and emotional development, cognitive development, art, music, math, science, family, community and culture. There is a strong family education component to build parenting confidence and provide strategies to reinforce their child’s learning.
Technological advances such as cochlear implants have dramatically changed the way Lake Drive addresses the educational programming for students. “Cochlear implants have revolutionized educational opportunities for children who are deaf, but they are not a miracle cure,” explains Michele Klimovitch, Supervisor of Programs. “It takes intensive therapy, especially in the first three years of life to teach a child how to listen, hear and speak.”
“We provide whatever programming is needed to help prepare our students to lead independent, fulfilling lives,” explains Trish Filiaci, Principal of The Lake Drive Programs.
“Each student has very individualized needs. We tailor our programs to maximize each child’s potential. Over the years we have been able to watch our students develop into adults with meaningful careers and promising futures.”
Graduates have gone into fields including medicine, dentistry, finance, the hi-tech industries, teaching, social work, graphic design. They’ve competed in the World Games, volunteered with Holocaust survivors, and taught sign language in third world countries.
Founded in 1969, Lake Drive has transformed the lives of more than 1,000 students from northern and central New Jersey who are deaf and hard of hearing. While New Jersey’s high school dropout rate is 17%, and the national average for students with hearing loss who do not receive high school diplomas is 50%, Lake Drive’s graduation rate is 100%.
Healthcare Heroes, produced by NJBIZ, New Jersey’s premiere business news publication, is sponsored by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Hackensack University Medical Center, New Jersey Hospital Association, NJTopDocs.com and WithumSmith+Brown, PC.
Finalists were selected in eleven categories: Corporate Achievement, Education Hero-Individual, Education Hero-Organization, Hospital of the Year, Innovation Hero-Individual, Innovation Hero-Organization, Nurse of the Year, Nursing Home/Assisted Living Facility of the Year, Physical Therapy Rehabilitation Center of the Year, Physician of the Year and Volunteer of the Year. (See list of finalists and winners below.)
Other finalists in the Education Organization Category included The Armenian American Health Professionals Organization in Far Hills; Liberty Science Center in Jersey City; Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey – Lutheran Senior LIFE at Jersey City; and The Meridian Health Pawsitive Action Team in Neptune.
For more information about The Lake Drive Programs call 973-299-0166 or visit www.lakedriveprograms.org.
The 2011 Healthcare Heroes Finalists and Winners
*In alphabetical order by category.
Corporate Achievement Hero
Hackensack University Medical Center – WINNER
Quick Chek Corporation
Linnea A. Brown, BA, RN, OCN
AtlantiCare Cancer Care Institute, A Fox Chase Cancer Center Partner
Gary Del Moro – WINNER
Hackensack University Medical Center
Nancy DiLiegro, PhD, FACHE
Trinitas Regional Medical Center
NJ Sharing Network
Rosanne Tully, RN
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
Northern New Jersey Maternal / Child Health Consortium
AAHPO – Armenian American Health Professionals Organization
Liberty Science Center
Lutheran Senior LIFE at Jersey City
The Lake Drive Programs for Children Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing – WINNER
Hospital of the Year
Capital Health – WINNER
Jersey City Medical Center
Saint Barnabas Medical Center
South Jersey Healthcare
The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
David A. Baran, MD
Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
Jeffrey Brenner, M.D. – WINNER
The Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers and Cooper Hospital
Shabbar F. Danish, MD
UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson
Gerard J. Ferro
Free For All, Inc.
Richard P. Miller
Andrew L. Pecora, M.D., F.A.C.P., C.P.E.
John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center
AtlantiCare Special Care Center
LIFE St. Francis
Summit Medical Group
The Chelsea at East Brunswick
The Senior Emergency Department (SrED) at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, a member of St. Joseph’s Healthcare System – WINNER
The Valley Hospital’s Peek-A-Boo I.C.U. Webcam Service
Nurse of the Year
Hackensack University Medical Center
Theresa E. Cope
South Jersey Healthcare
The NBN Group/ Newborn Nurses
Rebecca P. Lynn
Lynn Developers LLC & Assisted Living, Inc.
Jenifer McEwan, RN – WINNER
Saint Barnabas Hospice and Palliative Care Center at Monmouth Medical Center
Daughters of Israel
Nursing Home/Assisted Living Facility of the Year
Bridgeway Senior Healthcare
Green Hill, Inc – WINNER
Juniper Village at Williamstown Assisted Living and Wellspring Memory Care
Lincoln Park Care Center
St. Vincent’s Nursing Home, a member of St. Joseph’s Healthcare System
The Allendale Community for Mature Living
Physical Therapy Rehabilitation Center of the Year
Adler Aphasia Center – WINNER
Bacharach Institute for Rehabilitation
Jerry & Dolores Turco Medical Rehab Center
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Rahway
Physician of the Year
William M. Burke, M.D.
The Valley Hospital
Anthony R. Caputo, M.D.
Clara Maass Medical Center
Frank V. Castello, M.D. – WINNER
Children’s Specialized Hospital
Robert A. Kayal, MD, FAAOS
Kayal Orthopedic Center, PC
Helio F. Pedro, MD
Hackensack University Medical Center
Alexander G. Salerno
Urban Healthcare Initiative Program (UHIP)
Volunteer of the Year
Cavan M. Brunsden, DMD
Gilda’s Club Northern New Jersey
Jessie F. Kukor
Saint Peter’s University Hospital
Community Medical Center/Saint Barnabas Health Care System
Erika S. Rech and Michael V. Ruane
Breast Friends Forever
John A. Schmidt, Jr. M.D. – WINNER
John A. Schmidt, Jr. M.D.
On May 2 at the Trump Plaza Hotel, club member Gail Dunlap Reuben of Convent Station and Dr. Laura McKirdy of Mendham, cofounders of The Lake Drive Programs for Children Who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Mountain Lakes were awarded the 2011 New Jersey Women of Achievement Award by the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs of GFWC. The award celebrates the significant accomplishments of distinguished women in New Jersey who have demonstrated a strong commitment in leadership, humanitarianism, philanthropy, communy service, the arts, and to professional commitment. Distinguished past honorees include former Governor Christine Todd Whitman, Althea Gibson, Millicent Fenwick and Mary Higgins Clark.
On May 3, the cofounders were also honored at Ramapo College with The Russ Berrie Award for Making a Difference which recognizes unsung heroes who have made a significant difference to the well-being of society. Reuben and McKirdy were among eleven finalists selected from more than 200 nominees by The Russell Berrie Foundation’s advisory board of distinguished New Jerseys business leaders and professionals. The Honorable Cory Booker was the event’s keynote speaker, sharing personal stories of how unsung heroes impacted his life enabling him to have the opportunities to become the person he is today. Angelica Berrie presented the awards, founded 15 years ago by her husband. Reuben and McKirdy received $5,000, which they donated to The Lake Drive Foundation for The Sound Start Early Intervention Program.
The Lake Drive Foundation is a 501 (C) 3 nonprofit established by community leaders in 1996 as the fund development arm of The Lake Drive Programs for Children Who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Lake Drive offers New Jersey’s most comprehensive continuum of educational opportunities for children with hearing loss from birth to high school graduation. Lake Drive’s Ivy Nursery and Sound Start Early Intervention Program are the major programs supported by the Foundation.
Ivy Nursery and Sound Start provide therapy and educational services to sixty infants and toddlers who are deaf and hard of hearing from throughout northern and central New Jersey each year. Despite research demonstrating the importance and cost efficiency of early intervention for children with hearing loss, New Jersey state funding covers barely one third of the cost of these life changing programs. For more information about The Lake Drive Foundation visit www.lakedrivefoundation.org.
Make a donation in honor, memory or celebration of someone special.
If you give at work to the United Way or make donations through any other workplace giving or charitable gift fund, consider directing your donation to The Lake Drive Foundation.
Bequests | Retirement Accounts | Life Ins. | Charitable Remainder Trusts
|The Duke Smith Endowment
Leave a legacy to the Duke Smith Endowment of The Lake Drive Foundation and give generations of babies with hearing loss a sound start. Sometimes long-term planned giving is the best way to make a gift. Planned giving can have significant estate, financial and tax planning advantages. A planned gift is one which helps you: achieve your philanthropic wish to provide support for the Sound Start program; ensure your personal and financial objectives are met; realize tax benefits in your current financial planning and/or lower the taxes for your estate.
Event Sponsorship Opportunities
The future of the Sound Start Program depends on the generosity of individuals, private foundations and corporations. We welcome sponsorships, including in-kind donations of products and services. Sponsors receive publicity, VIP seating and event recognition. Your support may also be tax deductible.
At birth, mandatory newborn hearing screening identifies babies who require referrals for rescreening or follow up services. If your baby is referred, it is important to make a follow up appointment with a pediatric audiologist as soon as possible. Although your baby had a hearing test at birth, some babies may lose hearing later because of illness, injuries, medicine, or a family history of hearing loss. Watch for signs of hearing loss as your baby grows.
Early Identification, Amplification and Intervention is Critical
● Babies born with hearing loss are not starting from the same point as a child with typical hearing – as they have missed out on 20 weeks of development of their auditory brain pathways, as well as the neural development missed before they are diagnosed. Babies born with hearing loss are starting from a point of neurological emergency because they have a limited window of time in which to catch up.
● During the first three years of life, vital connections are made in the central nervous system that are uniquely attuned to receive auditory and linguistic information. In the absence of auditory information, nature has efficiently arranged for alternate use of the brain areas reserved for deciphering hearing, space that can not be reclaimed as effectively again.
● The focus must be on early detection, amplification and enhanced listening experiences to urgently develop auditory neural connections so that optimal developmental periods for brain growth can be maximized.