There are many people and issues that require immediate attention during these times of uncertainty. Charities have adjusted the way they operate on a daily basis and many have had to make significant shifts to fulfill their particular missions. Unfortunately, many charities may not weather this storm.
Our intention with the Charity x COVID-19 series is to share updates from a spectrum of charitable organizations to garner attention and inspire support for those in need.
Charity name: BC Family Hearing Resource Society
Core purpose & mandate:
BC Family Hearing Resource Society is the largest not-for-profit organization in British Columbia serving children who are deaf and hard-of-hearing, aged birth to school-entry. We provide language intervention and support, education, sign language instruction and peer-to-peer mentoring to families throughout the province. We are the only organization in BC that provides services for a whole range of communication modalities, to ensure that the child receives what is most suitable for their communication needs.
How is your organization impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic to our organization has been two-fold. First of all, all of our in-person work stopped for a number of months. While we are slowly beginning to work with families in-person, there are many families who are still not comfortable and continue receiving services online.
There are over 200 families we serve in rural and remote communities of BC. With the pandemic, these services have been significantly impacted due to a lack of skilled professionals in the region and technical challenges to reach these families.
Given how important speech, language and communication is for these children and their families during these early years, months long interruptions such as we’re experiencing this year could have impacts on long-term success.
The second impact is in the area of funding for our programs and services. Much of the public and private funding that was previously available to us is being redirected to those directly working in health care and in pandemic-related fields. As a result the frequency at which families receive individual services has been impacted negatively, particularly for those families living in outreach and rural communities.
How have your fundraising plans changed?
Like many not-for-profit organization, this pandemic has forced us to reevaluate our fundraising goals and plans. In-person fundraising events are not something we will be able to consider for the foreseeable future. We successfully transitioned our annual walkathon to an online virtual walk in May this year. This is something we will build upon for 2021. Overall, we are reevaluating what fundraising looks like in our new reality. The plans we make need to make fiscal sense for our organization as well as being respectful of our donors and being sensitive to the current economic and social climate.
If there is one story or message you would like to share with our community, what would it be?
Luca is an amazing, smart, funny, caring little boy. When he was born, the thought of him being hard-of-hearing never even crossed his parent’s minds. But then, as a tiny newborn he failed a test to check his hearing. Luca’s parents were sent home and told not to worry as it was most likely fluid in his ears sustained during birth. Two weeks later he was tested once more and again he failed.
Luca’s mom says “We took our little boy home and the emotions that came over me were intense. I went into the appointment in complete denial so when the audiologist said that he had a hearing loss, I was completely devastated. My first question to our audiologist was “will he hear music?” We went home from the appointment and I just didn’t know how to feel or what to say to the rest of our family.”
Then they were contacted by BC Family Hearing Resource Society (BCFHRS). That’s when they learned that their family was not the only ones going through this and that there was a place where their beautiful baby boy could fit in.
In the words of Luca’s mother: “It has taken a long time but now I am happy to talk to people about Luca’s hearing loss. We are so thankful to BCFHRS. Going there has not only taught Luca to communicate with the world and to interact with his deaf & hard-of-hearing peers but it has allowed him to become an independent little boy. Watching him become such a strong little human has made us stronger as parents and as a family.”
How can one support your organization most effectively?
For individual donors, becoming a monthly donor is the best way to show ongoing support. For those wishing to make a larger gift or bequest, giving undesignated funds provides the most flexibility as our programming needs are shifting to meet the changing needs of our families. There are also a number of specific programs that donors can choose to support with their gifts. Examples include, but are not limited to, our Bouncy Babies group for children aged 0-18 months, our PEER Kindergarten Transition program for those heading off to school and our Foundations Workshop for Parents and Professionals.
Can donations be transferred electronically?
Online donations can be made through our website at http://www.bcfamilyhearing.com/get-involved/make-a-gift/. For those wishing to discuss giving options they can contact our Development Coordinator, Lisa Cable: [email protected] or 604-584-2827