Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our project over the last few years. Your generosity has helped us to reach our fundraising target early. This means that we will be able to provide support to toddlers with hearing problems and their families right through 2015.
Thanks to you, 30 todders will receive music therapy and speech therapy to help them tune into the world around them. They will be able to play and socialise in a supportive environment, which helps them develop as rounded characters. Their parents will have a source of information about treatments and therapies available, helping them make their own decisions about what is best for their children. They will also gain strength and confidence from contact with other parents in similar situations.
This is our final report about the Club through Global Giving, but it isn't the only way to keep in touch.
St Gregory's Foundation runs a range of projects to help disabled and otherwise disadvantaged children and young people in Russia and the former Soviet Union. You can find out about the other projects we have listed on Global Giving here: www.globalgiving.org/donate/4427/st-gregorys-foundation/.
Do let me know if you would like to hear news from our Club for Hearing Impaired Toddlers through 2015 and see how your donation has helped. My e-mail address is email@example.com.
Thank you once again. I wish you all a very happy festive season.
Camilla and her mama are members of our Club for toddlers with impaired hearing that you have generously helped to sponsor. Some time ago she had a cochlear implant fitted and has just come back to the club. A cochlear implant can help replace the sensation of hearing for some deaf people. As soon as she came back we could see that Camilla had changed a lot! She has begun to make a lot of sounds and syllables. She can hear herself and the other children and adults. When she's playing with the other children she is always "saying" something. Her mama says that at home too Camilla is always trying to talk. She shows she can hear by cupping her hand to her ear and saying "hear!".
Camilla's mama is so happy to see her success! Her papa is also very hapy, although for a long time he didn't want Camilla to have the implant. Now he watches Camilla's progress with interest and enjoys chatting to her.
Before deciding about the implant, Camilla's mama spent a long time talking to the other parents at our Club, watching the other children with implants learning to talk. She talked to the other children, read up on the subject and talked to our experts. She discussed all this with her husband, and they decided to go ahead. It's very important that this was totally their decision rather than the professionals'. We see all our parents as partners who know their children best of all. The parents find this very refreshing and when they trust us the results are even better. Now we're all celebrating Camilla's progress and thank you for helping her reach this point.
We want to help more families like Camilla and her parents and we hate having to turn families away. So, in January, we are starting another group on Wednesday afternoons. To make this possible, parents will make a small contribution of just 200 Roubles (the equivalent of $3.70 of £2.30). This means that your donations this December will help double the number of children and we will be very grateful for any help you can offer.
Our parents have always been at the heart of our club for hearing impaired toddlers and their families. We recognise that they know their children best and influence their development far more than we can alone. For most of our parents this is a new experience. They are not used to being taken seriously by specialists.
During our summer break we took four of our parents to a conference organised by Hands and Voices, a US parents' group for parents with hearing impaired children. With generous funding from the US side we were able to travel to Savannah, Georgia, and meet other parents in similar situations. Natasha and Masha, Alla and Zoya talked to the American parents about how to support parents at different stages in their lives, how to teach hearing impaired children and other topics that interested them all. They plan to keep in touch with their new friends as there is so much more they want to discuss.
In October this year some of the American parents will return the visit and take part in a conference taking place in St Petersburg which is centred on communication. Our group will be presenting a paper on communicating with hearing impaired children.
Our parents have grown in confidence and are excited by the new ideas they've been introduced to. We hope the visit will lead to new ways for all our parents to support each other and share information.
Meanwhile, our club starts up again for the autumn, and we look forward to welcoming back some old faces and meeting new families. Thank you very much for all you have done to keep our club running.
We have just had a wonderful event at our club, Savva's birthday! He has just turned two. Savva came to our club with his mom when he still couldn't walk on his own. Now he is very active. He runs around, climbs on the slide, plays ball, and much more besides. He has learnt how to play with other children and adults, which gives him a lot of pleasure. Savva has learnt how to say words and uses speech with his mom, our teachers and the children.
Savva has a fantastic mom! She is very sensitive to his needs and understands him. She helps him to learn to talk, to recognise and distinguish the sounds around him. She also chats to the other parents and children at the club and helps them.
We celebrated Savva's birthday altogether at the club. We made him a present, sang songs, and put on a puppet show. Savva and the other children watched the show avidly. They joined in with the hero's actions.
We are delighted to see Savva becoming a happy, sociable and communicative little boy in spite of his hearing impairment. We are looking forward to seeing him and the other children and their parents at our club in September, but now we break for the summer holidays. Thank you for all your help through this year. You're giving Savva and his friends the priceless gift of self-expression.
Our Club for children with impaired hearing and their parents has just celebrated its tenth birthday. For ten years we have been offering families help, support and friendship from the moment they discover their child's disability. For ten years we have been working to make sure that deaf toddlers don't miss out on learning to communicate.
At our party we were delighted to see children, who have already grown up and go to school, chat away, and use speech to communicate. Christina and Borya use speech and sign language. They go to school, as do Nikita and Yulia. Maxim, Makar and Seraphima all go to kindergarten. In the photos you can see how Nikita has grown up since he was a member of our Club. We also invited a group of folk musicians, he kept us all entertained.
We heard many kind words from the parents at the party. They spoke about how important it was for them to come to the Club, to be able to meet other parents in the same situation as well as specialists, and to be able to share experiences, receive support and become more confident in raising their child.
Thank you all for your support. Here's to the next ten years!
P.S. Would you like to help us prepare for the next Global Giving bonus day on May 7th? If you have 20 minutes to spare and would like to get more involved, please e-mail Sarah Gale on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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