The HLAA-West Valley Chapter (Arizona), one of the oldest chapters in the country (started in 1982), reports regrowth and new enthusiasm. This chapter focuses on drawing old and new members with an excellent program calendar. The Arizona folks work diligently to get PR for the chapter by participating in farmer’s markets and other public events where they can share literature. Their newsletter is sent to libraries and individuals, and has been successful in reaching people who are not aware of HLAA. They have also found that putting their meeting notice in the newspaper reaches many people. Having a population that is eager for information and support related to hearing loss has been a boon for this chapter. The chapter reports having a wonderful turnout at a first time luncheon social that led to discussion on many new ideas for programs. Plans are in the works to hold this kind of informal social regularly.
Submitted by Melanie O’Rourke, Chapter Leader
The HLAA-Central Massachusetts Chapter reports completing a joint project called “Navigating a Hearing Loss” with the Public Library as part of the library’s adult learning program. The project consisted of a 3-part series. The library provided publicity for this program which attracted several people who were unfamiliar with HLAA. Several of the ‘students’ have since become involved in the chapter, and have also participated at a state conference. The chapter and the library are discussing plans for another series in the near future, and are looking at other venues where the program may be offered.
Submitted by Beth Wilson, Chapter Leader
Five year old chapter, HLAA Morris County Chapter (New Jersey) has decided to hold meetings with educational programs every other month, with an hour allowance for social time prior to each meeting. As they have gotten to know each other socially, the participants have decided to hold purely social gatherings on alternate months. These events have included lunch or dinner in restaurants and plans for more organized events like potluck picnics, attending a captioned movie, and going to a baseball game as a group. The moderator says the goal has been to provide a safe and nurturing place for people with hearing loss; a place where they feel honored and respected, and a place where everyone understands if they mishear something. Learning to laugh at ourselves can be therapeutic, according to Pat Dobbs, HLAA-Morris County Chapter president.