As I write this, I am witnessing the tragedy unfolding in Houston, Texas and the surrounding communities after Hurricane Harvey has passed. Everyone at AG Bell is concerned for those affected by this devastating disaster. We are thinking of you, and we are praying for you
Even with the events unfolding in Texas and beyond, there are signs of hope, and that hope comes in the form of those volunteers who are the "angels" on the ground, rescuing trapped families and elderly citizens in nursing homes and bringing them to safety. The images broadcast across the television screen show fear and sadness but also the spirit of Americans who selflessly volunteer to help others.
The value and benefits of volunteerism and its reach allow us to live happier, more fulfilling lives. Not only does it make a huge impact on our communities, but it also increases the quality of our lives. Volunteering allows us to connect with others; it is good for our minds; it can advance our careers; and it is fun.
When I hear the word "volunteerism," I think back to Alexis de Tocqueville, the French author who came to the United States to observe American life and later wrote Democracy in America in 1835. One of his most important observations was that "America is a nation of joiners." Through America's development of associations, he praised our nation's sense of volunteerism that helps others for the common good. De Tocqueville's observations remain relevant to this day here at home and abroad.
This strong sense of volunteerism has always existed at AG Bell - now, more than ever, as our chapters across the country and the world band together to help families in their journeys through Listening and Spoken Language. AG Bell's chapters and volunteers are great advocates for the rights of our children with hearing loss.
AG Bell currently has 32 chapters, including right here in Washington, D.C. Our chapter volunteers work tirelessly day in and day out to increase awareness of hearing loss and the benefits of early intervention at the state level. Each chapter leader volunteers his or her time to educate healthcare and education professionals, parents, and the world that children with hearing loss can learn to listen, talk, and thrive in today's society. Each day, I see the hard work and passion they bring to advancing AG Bell's mission. Not only do they bring a strong passion to the field of Listening and Spoken Language, but their self-sacrifice and determination make the world a better place for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. I express my heartfelt gratitude for each of AG Bell's volunteers and the dedication, passion, motivation, and positive spirit they bring to this organization every day.
Top, Left to Right: Michigan Chapter, Pennsylvania Chapter, Wisconsin Chapter
Bottom, Left to Right: North Carolina Chapter, Rhode Island Chapter
In closing, I encourage you to reach out to those in Houston and the surrounding areas - just like we reached out to our members - and offer them your support and encourage them to use the strength they have to make it through these difficult times.
Until next week,
Chief Executive Officer
Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing