Last December, 11-year-old Jack Hill came to his mom Sarah to discuss a topic that many children with hearing loss can struggle with. “He was feeling a bit insecure about being the only person in his school who wears hearing aids. He was feeling really sad about it and wondering why he was different,” she explains.
Jack, who wears Oticon Opn™ hearing aids, was diagnosed at 6 weeks old with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss and attended an infant and toddler and a K-5 program where most of his classmates had a hearing loss.
As Jack progressed in his studies, his family decided that educationally, he was ready for mainstream classes. Two years ago, he transferred to St. Jane De Chantal School. Jack has excelled academically but noticed that at his new school, he was now only one of a few students with hearing aids. During his discussion with his mom Sarah, they talked about ways to build his confidence. They came up with the idea to host a fundraiser and awareness campaign.
“Jack decided that he wanted to do a fundraiser to raise awareness and funds so that someone else could benefit from the power of hearing aids and the gift of hearing. In our research, we came across the Oticon Hearing Foundation and thought this would be the perfect organization for Jack to raise funds for,” she says.
Sarah and Jack came up with the idea to host a school-wide game of Simon Says. They worked with administrators at St. Jane De Chantal School and Physical Education teacher Mrs. Tehan to organize the event. Mrs. Tehan suggested they also involve another student who wore hearing aids – a kindergarten student named Harper. Harper had received hearing aids the summer before entering kindergarten and felt better knowing that there was someone else in the school who understood her experience.
The day of the event, Jack and Harper stood in front of the student assembly with their families and invited their classmates to participate in the school-wide game of Simon Says to raise donations for the Oticon Hearing Foundation. Jack spoke about his hearing loss and hearing aids, shared an educational video and fielded questions from his classmates. The following week they held a bake sale to raise additional funds.
“This has absolutely helped him with his confidence. Just the response of kids coming up to him afterward and hugging him, telling him how proud they were of him and asking questions has made a difference,” Sarah says.
Following the school-wide event, family and friends began asking, “How can we donate?” Jack expanded his project and created a Go Fund Me campaign to further benefit the Oticon Hearing Foundation. In total, his efforts have resulted in a $4,000 donation to support humanitarian missions that give the gift of hearing to children and adults in need.
The Hill family hopes to make Jack’s awareness campaign and fundraiser an annual event to continue to shine a light on hearing loss and use their experiences to make a difference.
If you’d like to donate to Jack’s Go Fund Me page and become a hearing aid hero you can click here.