46 Sixth Graders Raised $20,000 for 10 Babies with Hearing Loss
In February, Bella Dunning and her sixth grade class held a Roll-A-Thon for the Decibels Foundation to help children with hearing loss. Bella, who suffers from Usher Syndrome, which is a rare, genetic disorder that causes deafblindness, is passionate about helping kids like her, and her school is passionate about helping Bella. She has cochlear implants, which are surgically implanted devices that allow profoundly deaf and hard of hearing individuals the ability to hear sounds. Over the years, her peers have learned how to use special equipment to help her hear in the classroom. Now she is just one of the kids.
Her classmates raised $20,000 to help kids like Bella. It was a lot of work: $20,000 in $10 and $50 and $100 increments from aunts, uncles and neighbors and friends. Two kids shoveled every driveway in their neighborhood after a big New England snow storm and gave all the money to Decibels. It was an effort that stirred the soul. Our future is in good hands with kids like that running the show.
The Decibels Foundation will put the money to good use, funding a hearing aid bank at Children’s Hospital in Boston to provide hearing aids to families that need them. They will also pay for a cochlear implant spare parts bank so no kid will be without the use of their cochlear implants just because their family cannot afford the parts to keep it going.
Because of the efforts of this sixth grade class, the school’s superintendent nominated Bella to represent the class for a Make A Difference Award given by the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston. The library gives the award to 100 kids each year that show leadership in charitable endeavors. Bella’s school had submitted kids in the past, but none of the school’s efforts had ever been honored before this group’s was chosen.
The award ceremony was held at the prestigious JFK Library overlooking Boston harbor. It’s a place where world leaders have spoken. The superintendent and all of Bella’s teachers left school early to join more than 1,000 people in attendance. The words of John F. Kennedy were read. “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country…”
John F. Kennedy said these words a generation ago. We thought they’d be lost on this generation, but as Bella’s class has proved, they certainly are not. John F. Kennedy would be proud.