So, I mentor deaf kids between the ages of 12 and 18. We’ve been doing this for about a year, me and 5 other deaf friends. We started it because we had always wished that we had a deaf role model when we were growing up – or atleast someone to talk to when the going got tough, or to ask for advice as to how to deal with things when you have a hearing loss. There weren’t really many around for us.

Hear For You provides a mentoring program which gives guidance and support to deaf adolescents at an important stage of their lives.

Hear For You provides a mentoring program which gives guidance and support to deaf adolescents at an important stage of their lives.

We all do it as volunteers, we conduct workshops on weekends, and talk to our mentees by email – and I have to say it is one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done.  We call ourselves ‘Hear For You’.

So, on the morning after my surgery, I am sitting up in my hospital bed, checking my sms’s and emails.

And in pops an email from one of my mentees. I mentor the year 11 and 12s, and they are such a wonderful group of kids. I really love them. And I can  see myself reflected in them so clearly – everything that I went through in highschool – I always just want them to know that they are not alone, and can do anything they want.  We are always on about how deafness is not a disabilty, but a difference, and that they can be leaders, and have brilliant careers etc etc.

So, anyway – this email comes in … and it says something like: “HI Kate, just wanted to let you know … I got elected to be a prefect at my school yesterday.”

WOW.

I was completely floored.

Had a huge smile on my face.

Didn’t know what to say.

Well actually, I did know what to say! I was hooting and cheering, and if I’d been hooked up to a heart monitor, alarms would’ve been going off.

He is profoundly deaf, and has been elected prefect at a normal mainstream school.

His parent’s had mentioned that he had decided to go for the position of prefect at his school after coming to our workshops (we hold four every 6 months), but I don’t think I realised he was really going to do it.

The grin got bigger, and I thought – this is what it’s all about. This … giving the kids enough confidence to know … they literally can do ANYTHING. It was a small sign – well, a big sign – that what we are doing is making a difference, is helping these kids feel more confident about themselves, and pushing them to challenge themselves.

So, congratulations Adrian! You are my hero, and I am very proud of you. Just remember this is step one of the journey. Keep going til you hit CEO, just like we talked about! And remember it doesn’t end there!

Whoot!

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