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Hearing loss advocates share their stories

Honoree Yoni leiderman with Victor calise, Commissioner, NYC Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities

Honoree Yoni leiderman with Victor Calise, Commissioner, NYC Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities

The Center for Hearing and Communication (CHC) celebrated the achievements of four hearing loss advocates who shared their personal stories at CHC’s 105th Annual Meeting.

The honorees spoke movingly about the challenges they face living with a hearing loss and the guidance and support they received along the way that made all the difference in how they view themselves and live their lives in a hearing world.

Their courage and wisdom is a source of inspiration for all of us.

Young Achiever Award Yoni Leiderman Presented by CHC’s Executive VP and Past President, Jeff Cohen.

Those of us with hearing disabilities are judged because we look different and sound different, but we are not broken. If we are rejected because we look different than others, then others do not see who we are as individuals, how we can contribute and aspire to achieve our dreams and goals. Those who reject us for how we sound do not hear our words. They do not understand and misinterpret what we mean. Being disabled should in no way hamper an individual to accomplish whatever milestone one sets for herself or himself. If you are a parent or a teacher of a hearing disabled child, have faith that this child will overcome barriers and challenges with your love, support and guidance. If you know they are not broken, they will believe the same.

– Yoni Leiderman

Sheldon Williams Leadership Award Becky Clark, Ph.D., LCSW-R, CC-AASP, CGRS Presented by Donald itzkoff, Esq., CHC Board Member

Even though hearing loss is a hidden disability, invisible, you are not. Empowered — you are empowered to come out of the shadows. Use your strengths, focus on your talents and skills to break through the barriers, and overcome challenges to maximize your potential and achieve excellence and fulfillment. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed. Don’t let your can’t do’s get in the way of your can do’s. Keep a positive mindset. Be a game changer. Play, lead, and dare to be bold. Be you.

– Dr. Becky Clark

Ruth R. Green Advocacy Award Mariella Paulino Presented by Lauri Hanin, Ph.D., CCC-A, CHC’s Executive Director

Linda [Kessler] is a speech pathologist here at the Center for Hearing and Communication. I remember one particular afternoon Linda called the guidance counselor and she said, “Mariella is as capable as every other student in your class.” And Linda believed that statement – so much so that I started to believe it as well. When other people doubted my ability to go out into the world and do, there was Linda, setting a standard of high expectations that challenged me and forced me to redefine what it means to be deaf.

– Mariella Paulino

Irving Berelson President’s Award Deputy Inspector Dan Carione Presented by Joseph LaBato, CHC Board Member and Past President

CHC showed me great compassion, and patience. They worked very hard to fit me with the very best technology and hearing aid. They were tireless, and they got it right. More importantly, in doing so they provided me with hope. They treated me with respect and dignity. And this in turn instilled in me an indelible belief that I was a person that mattered. I was a person that was able. And I was a person that could continue to be a vital and productive human being. The CHC gave me hope, and they inspired me to dare greatly. Well, hope is a very powerful thing. Out of that hope grew my realization that with the hearing aid I was otherwise qualified. And I would not go quietly into the night.

– Dan Carione

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