What our Volunteers say...
We have a fantastic team of volunteers here at The Ear Foundation, and without them we wouldn't be where we are today!
Here below is a few of their stories about the time and effort they put in with us....
"Hello! My name is Zheng Yen Ng, I am a Linguistics student at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, currently following the programs Applied Linguistics and Neurolinguistics. The last two years I have joined the Ear Foundation as a volunteer for the International Friendship Week in their teenz program. It has been amazing to learn about the young adults with a cochlear implant and/or hearing aids. Not only have I learned much about how the young adults communicate, but also about how they see their deafness as part of themselves, how they work with their devices and what their behavior is like, which seems to be no different from any teenager I might add! My interest in this field has been growing because of these great experiences, and I am excited to learn more.
This study year, one of the programs I am following allowed me to choose my own topic for my thesis. I asked if I could join the Ear Foundation in one of their projects where I could write my thesis, and fortunately, they found a place for me in the literacy project lead by professor Connie Mayer. This project is on the reading and writing development of children with cochlear implants. Next to writing up my MA-thesis as part of the study under supervision of Professor Mayer and Dr. Imran Mulla, my role is to coordinate the data from the project. I have also been able to join in other events and meetings, which has given me a lot of new insights as well so far. The Ear Foundation has an amazing team to work with, I am enjoying my stay here in Nottingham, and I am very much looking forward to what is yet to come".
Emma's Experience Volunteering with The Ear Foundation's Pre-School Groups
"I began volunteering at the Ear Foundation in June 2011 before I completed my final year studying Speech and Language Therapy at De Montfort University. My interest in working with hearing impaired children began after attending a lecture from a Specialist Hearing Impaired Speech and Language Therapist, which inspired me to work with deaf children. I continue to be a regular volunteer at the ‘Ready Steady Go’ pre-school group whilst working as a Speech and Language Therapist in Leicestershire. The group is a fantastic opportunity for parents to offer support to each other, in addition to learning strategies to support their child’s listening skills and language development. I enjoy working with the children and seeing their continuing progress. The group also gives me the opportunity to continue to develop my knowledge and skills working with hearing impaired children and continues to give me the drive and determination to specialise working with deaf children in my future career".
Caitriona's Story of Volunteering with The Ear Foundation's Ready Steady Go and Teenz Groups
"When I originally decided to try my hand at volunteering I was sent in the direction of The Ear Foundation by my Dad, who had worked with the charity for many, many years before he retired from medical practise. My main aim was to spend time with children who had difficulties with their speech and language so that I could better understand the issues they and their families face on a daily basis. This, I hoped, would link nicely with my degree and future plans to study to be a Speech and Language Therapist.
My first session helping out with the ‘Ready, Steady, Go’ group was a little daunting-all the new faces and trying to remember all the children’s names was something of a challenge but I had a great time meeting some fantastic kids. We played outside, painted and generally kept busy whilst their parents were able to chat and meet with Speech and Language Therapists.
Initially, I thought my very rusty BSL level 1 would hinder me in communicating but I’ve picked up quite a few signs from the children and the adults. I think the best way to learn sign language is to ask and clarify (I know from experience that the children (teens especially) think it’s really funny when you get something muddled up!).
Not only have I helped out at sessions held at The Ear Foundation itself but I have also been on quite a few really fun trips out with different age groups. The pantomime was fantastic and I got to see first-hand the benefits of having someone sign on stage. The ‘Teenz’ had a great time and so did I.
We also took the ‘Leaping’ group to Nottingham Climbing Centre. Climbing can be so rewarding and seeing some of the smiles as the children reached the top of a really high wall was something I will never forget. It was amazing to be part of that day and I hope we get to go again-I might be brave enough to have a go myself next time!
Most recently we visited Center Parcs in Sherwood Forest as part of the annual meeting with The Ear Foundation. Families from all over the country came together for a weekend of information and activities and we certainly made the most of the outdoors when we took part in Laser Combat-like paintballing but with laser guns and no pain! It was brilliant; adults and children alike were hiding behind trees and ducking under barricades to avoid a ‘deadly’ shot from another player. It was safe to say everyone ran off the icing we’d eaten at the cake decorating session beforehand!
So, to sum up, my experience over the last 9 months volunteering for The Ear Foundation has not only been beneficial for my studies but it has also allowed me to meet some fantastic people who I hope to work with for many years to come. Everyone is so friendly and the children are so energetic and adventurous, you can’t help but get involved!"
Rachel's time being one of The Ear Foundation's Volunteers with our Primary Groups
"I first became aware of The Ear Foundation while studying for a speech and language therapy degree at De Montfort University. I was in search of an organisation that I could volunteer for. I felt I needed to boost my CV but I also wanted to do something useful for others. During a lecture on hearing impairment The Ear Foundation was mentioned by a speech and language therapist so I decided to get in touch.
After meeting Lorna I was excited to be able to commit to something I felt would not only benefit my future career but also enable me to feel as though I was doing something worthwhile at the same time.
I was assigned to the Primary group where school aged children are 'Leaping on with Language'. I don't know what it's really like to have a hearing impairment or rely on a cochlear implant for hearing sound but the experiences I have gained in working with this group of children have given me an insight into the challenges this group of children face on a daily basis. The sessions are both fun and informative and it is a joy to see the children developing relationships with other children with hearing devices.
The children have reinforced for me that even though they are all described as hearing impaired and have similar hearing devices they are also completely individual.
Now that I have graduated I intend to remain a volunteer for The Ear Foundation as I have really enjoyed being part of such an amazing organisation. I have learned a lot from working with the speech and language therapists and also from the children themselves.”
If you wish to join our team of volunteers we would love to hear from you! Get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org