SayWhatClub

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From the President

Don DippnerFrom the President’s Desk

Neighbors helping neighbors.    It’s what you did in my day.

I grew up in the heart of the Pennsylvania Dutch County in the late 50’s in the small rural town of Paradise, Pennsylvania.neighbors helping neighbors

Our main claim to fame was the founder of Park Seed Company, George Watt Park, who ran his seed business from 1902 to around 1920 in what was then LaPark and is now Paradise, Pennsylvania.

After the seed mill was destroyed in a fire around 1920 the seed business was eventually relocated to Greenwood, SC where it continues to operate to this day.

The three story Park Mansion is all that remains of the Park Empire in Paradise, Pennsylvania.

I grew up on 25 LaPark Avenue just a short distance from the Park Mansion.  In fact, Park Seed employees built the six homes on LaPark Avenue.   Each 2 story A-frame home was built the same with a kitchen area and living room on the first floor and 3 bedrooms on the second floor.  We didn’t have a well but a cistern that collected rainwater and a hand pump above the cistern to draw water which we used for cooking, cleaning, and bathing. All the homes had an outhouse in the back as indoor bathrooms didn’t become popular until after the 1930’s; I was 11 years old when we had indoor plumbing installed.

We lived in an economically depressed neighborhood. We didn’t have much growing up but neither did our neighbors.  We all pulled together to help each other whenever we could.  We weren’t related by blood but we were related by location and circumstance.  We enjoyed each other’s company and made of the best of times we had together.

Today I find myself in a new neighborhood called the SayWhatClub®. My new neighborhood spreads across various states and around the globe.  I have made many wonderful friends in the SWC and continue to increase that great circle of friends every year.

Each and every year I am loving this new neighborhood even more.  Our hearing loss has brought us together and my SWC family means the world to me.

The SWC just celebrated its 20th Anniversary this past December and I want to do whatever I can to insure that we will be around for another 20 years.

Neighbors helping neighbors is still important in this day and age and especially with the SayWhatClub®.

We need your help in big ways and small ways to help us continue to reach out to others with hearing loss that haven’t heard about the SWC family but are searching for a connection to others that understand their challenges in today’s world.

Two of my favorite quotes are from Helen Keller (a deaf-blind American author and lecturer 1880 – 1968),

“I am only one, but still I am one.  I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.

and

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

It is my hope and desire that 2018 will be the year of accomplishments and it’s sure starting out that way!

  • The new web site is up and running and more and more people are finding out about the SayWhatClub® and what it can do for them.
  • We are fielding many requests for information about the SWC from our Web site.
  • Many people are reading our blog entries on the web site as well.
  • Quite a few first time attendees have registered to attend the 2018 SWC St. Paul Convention in August.
  • Our Board of Directors are putting in many volunteer hours to keep things running smoothly and efficiently.
  • Our Committees are reaching out to help current subscribers and potential subscribers who are looking to connect with an organization like the SayWhatClub® and finally found that connection.
  • Facebook has been a boom for people finding out about us.
    • SayWhatClub® Facebook Group is attracting more and more followers.
    • SayWhatClub® with Friends Group is adding followers each month.
    • SayWhatClub® Gen-Y is growing each month as well.
  • Our first Fundraiser in the fall was a huge success.
  • The fundraising team is developing tools and processes to help us be more effective and efficient.
  • Our board members are developing handbooks and online training sessions to help our all volunteer organization grow and develop.
  • We are developing tools and processes to help us be more effective and efficient.
  • We have started using collaboration software to help us work better as a team and be more effective and efficient.

We need YOUR help, please.

 Like many nonprofits, we are always in need of volunteers.

Please consider being a volunteer for the SayWhatClub® in big and small ways.

A volunteer is giving up the greatest commodity they have to offer, their personal time.

Why do people volunteer? People choose to volunteer for a variety of reasons. For some it offers the chance to give something back to the community or make a difference to the people around them. For others it provides an opportunity to develop new skills or build on existing experience and knowledge.

How does volunteer work benefit you?

  1. Gain confidence.
  2. Make a difference.
  3. Meet people. Volunteering can help you meet different kinds of people and make new friends.
  4. Be part of a community.
  5. Learn new skills.
  6. Take on a challenge.
  7. Have fun!

 How do I treat volunteers?

  1. Show respect. Arguably the most important aspect of managing volunteers happy is to show them respect.  Treat others the way you want them to treat you.  Lead by example.
  2. Communicate. In addition to email, we now have posts, chats, and are developing a learning library.
  3. Have an open door policy.  Please feel free to email me, Don Dippner, at:  president@saywhatclub.org with your comments and concerns.  I will do my very best to respond to your email within 24-48 hours.
  4. Find common goals. We need to work together and help one another.
  5. Recognize achievement. I plan on doing my best to let you know your efforts are seen and are appreciated.  I want to let you know regularly that ALL of our committees and ALL of our volunteers are as asset to the SWC and highly valued.  Without YOU we would not have a SayWhatClub®.
  6. Build team spirit.  We are in this together and we will make great strides in the years ahead and we will also fall short in some of our endeavors, but I will never give up trying to improve and to learn from past mistakes.   I don’t believe in failure; I do believe in learning from what doesn’t work.
  7. Encourage development and training. We are working on a couple of different ways to help our volunteers know what is expected of them, teach them how to best carry out their duties, develop new and better ways, and have fun in the process.
  1. Accommodate.  I will work with you to help you make the best use of your volunteer time.  I understand that we all have lives outside of the SayWhatClub®, myself included, and it’s often a balancing act of finding time for yourself and your family and finding time for the SayWhatClub®.

In conclusion, “Neighbors helping Neighbors” has always been a part of my life.  I don’t know how not to help others when I can do so.   We have a lot of work ahead of us to keep the SayWhatClub® going strong for another 20 years and more.  I know in my heart we can work together, grow together, and help one another.  Reaching out and helping others is why the SayWhatClub® was founded all those years ago.

Now I am asking you to join me and help me to reach countless others in the hearing loss community that are looking for a friend; someone who understands, someone who cares, and someone who will make a difference in the lives of others.

Are you that someone I am looking for? 

If so, please contact me at:  president@saywhatclub.org sometime this week.

 

Thank you for your time,

Don Dippner

President, SayWhatClub®

https://www.saywhatclub.org

We are an all-volunteer organization and have been around for over 20 years.

Please consider making a tax deductible donation to:

https://www.saywhatclub.org/how-to-donate-to-saywhatclub/

We are also registered with AmazonSmile.  When you sign into Amazon using the AmazonSmile link Amazon will donate 0.5% of your purchase price to the SayWhatClub at no cost to you.

Here’s the direct link to our AmazonSmile account:  https://smile.amazon.com/ch/91-1875174

Thank you for your donations.

THE SAYWHATCLUB CHANGED MY LIFE BY LORNE SMITH

My first SayWhatClub convention changed my life. It was 15 years ago but the memories haven’t faded.

Though I was relatively new to SWC, I had read the glowing  accounts of people who attended the 2002 convention in Alexandria, VA., and how they bonded and laughed each day and well into the night. I knew the 2003 convention would be held in Seattle, just two hours away from me, and I had to be there to see what it was all about.,

Since I couldn’t get time off work to attend the full 2003 convention, I made the best of the two days I had. On Friday morning, I got up early and drove to Seattle in time to attend the second day of workshops. I didn’t know many people there, but that changed fast. During the morning break, people welcomed me, introduced themselves and chatted as if we’d been longtime friends. One group invited me to go for lunch with them. Another invited me to join them on an afternoon boat ride. I felt so overwhelmed by these generous offers that I turned them all down and spent a quiet lunch alone, in my usual comfort zone. I’ve regretted that decision ever since and vowed never to repeat it.

“People I had met online and others I had never met became instant and lasting friends at that convention.”

For the next two days, I spent as much time as possible in the company of other SWCers at workshops, social activities, the banquet and in the hotel bar, which has become a traditional gathering place for SWCers at the end of each day. People I had met online and others I had never met became instant and lasting friends at that convention.

Hearing loss is a powerful bond. Many of us don’t have family, friends and coworkers who understand the struggles we face each day. At SWC conventions, we have a lot in common, even though our hearing losses vary. We learn together, share our experiences and use whatever methods we can to communicate with each other, without fear of being left out.

“I’ve always liked to say, ‘Hearing loss brings us together; friendship keeps us together.'”

Lorne hanging with friends at a SWC convention

The motto of the SayWhatClub says it all: “Friends with Hearing Loss.” As I’ve always liked to say, hearing loss brings us together; friendship keeps us together. The strength of the SayWhatClub is what we learn from each other and the support we receive from our friends with hearing loss.

Since my first experience in 2003, I haven’t missed a SayWhatClub convention. It’s one of the highlights of my year. I look forward to bonding with old friends and making new ones at the 2018 SWC convention  from Aug. 1-4 in St. Paul, MN.

I hope to see you all in St. Paul.

For more information on upcoming conventions, visit

SOLO TRAVEL: Getting Started

By Michele Linder

Training myself to travel alone, as a deaf person, has been among the most valuable teachers in life. It has taught me how to cope with, and embrace, my deafness. I credit solo travel with my learning to fit into a world I can’t hear.

Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling with others, but some things you can only learn and experience by going solo. Traveling alone leaves you more open to unique discoveries and adventures, and there’s nothing that will make you feel more empowered.

Many would never consider traveling without a companion, even those who face no barrier. We each are free to set our own limits — I’ve always supported each to their own — but for me, I am not willing to let anything take away my independence, or place limits on where I can go, and when. I want to control my own plans, not wait until someone can accompany me.

So, that is the first question you need to ask yourself: “Do I want my travel to be dependent on others?”

If your answer is “No,” then the next step is to take control and teach yourself to be a good solo traveler. That doesn’t mean you book a long and involved trip that includes flying to some far away land. It’s best to start in your own backyard.

The biggest deterrent, as with anything you undertake, is to fixate on what could go wrong. Shifting your focus on the goal — your destination — is essential. You have to be willing to do whatever it takes to reach your destination.

PART I: WHAT SOLO travel CAN TEACH YOU

SELF-RELIANCE:  When there is no one else to depend on, you learn to depend on yourself. It’s up to you, and you alone, to make your trip a success. And by “success”, I don’t mean that everything went according to plan and was easy. You’ll learn the best lessons when things don’t go well, or when your trip takes an unexpected turn.

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION:  When you travel alone there is no one else to hear or listen for you. It’s all on you, and it forces you to communicate effectively to get the information you need. You can’t fake anything when successfully reaching your destination depends on making yourself understood and getting specific information.

ADVOCACY:  Solo travel shines a big old spotlight on how we perceive ourself and our disability. If you want to learn how to shed diffidence, or that feeling of needing to apologize for the extra effort required to communicate with you, traveling alone is the cure. There is no better way to learn how to effectively ask for what you need.

PROBLEM SOLVING:  If I had to choose one point as the most important, problem solving would be my number one. Travel presents such a huge opportunity for the unknown — delays, cancellations, missed stops, etc. — and is so well suited to best laid plans going up in smoke. You’re forced to think on your feet and to figure out an alternative. 

CONFIDENCE:  Traveling solo takes you out of your comfort zone, and when you succeed at something that scares you, you can’t help but become more confident and capable.

PART II: FIVE SIMPLE RULES

These rules will become your commandments.

  1. DEFINE SUCCESS SIMPLY:  Reaching your destination safely.
    Bonus: If you focus on that one thing, all that happened on the way there becomes inconsequential.
  2. PANIC IS THE ENEMY Let go of irrational fear; it never improves a situation.
  3. ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED CONFIDENTLY:  Let go of the notion that asking for what you need is bothersome or equates to a favor. No one is doing you any favor by accommodating your difference.
    Bonus: You’re teaching them to interact with someone who is different; a win for all.
  4. LEAVE AS LITTLE TO CHANCE AS POSSIBLE: Do your homework, prepare, learn as much as you can about your route, mode of transportation, and destination. Think about what can go wrong beforehand, and plan for it.
  5. REMAIN POSITIVE If you can’t control it, exercise flexibility and tolerance.
    Bonus: That missed flight or delay is an opportunity to catch up on your reading, work on writing your next blog article, or chatting with someone in person or online.

PART III: TAKING THE PLUNGE

START SMALL:  Take a bus, trolley, light rail, or train in a city close to you.
POSITIVE FRAME OF MIND:  Choose a day and time when you’re in a good mood and feeling more confident.
BE PREPARED Familiarize yourself with routes and maps. Look online for this information or grab a bus or subway schedule the next time you’re in town.
BUY AN UNLIMITED OR DAY PASS OR TICKET Give yourself a cushion. A flexible ticket means a missed stop or wrong turn won’t be as big of a deal.

Once you’ve mastered a small trip, keep pushing yourself toward bigger and longer solo trips. Each success — arriving at your destination safely — builds your confidence, and before you know it you’ll be purchasing a Eurail pass and traveling Europe alone!

You might think learning to travel alone, while deaf, is something you’re doing for yourself. It is, but it also demonstrates to the world how capable people with disabilities are. When you do that, you’re making things better for all of us.