At first I wasn’t sure whether I should go for Prefect as a leadership position. But I convinced myself that I had nothing to lose if I didn’t succeed and a lot to gain if I did get a position. When I did get Prefect, I was overjoyed! I wanted to get the position as a way of saying that ‘anything is possible if you put your mind to it’ and to prove to others what I am capable of.
My experience with the Hear For You team was excellent because it helped me to feel stronger about myself and this allowed me to go ahead and apply for the Prefect position and not worry about negative outcomes, because at least I had a go. I would like to thank everyone at Hear For You for their great program which really helps make a difference.
One of the best things of being involved with the Hear For You non-profit organisation is making a positive difference to the lives of young deaf people – and having an opportunity of working with a team who all share the experience of hearing impairment but have been determined to make something of their lives.
We now want to share this by working to inspire and support young deaf people. It is such an exhilarating feeling to finally be able to put all this preparation into practice, and so rewarding to see the results. I have never felt like I have ever done such an important thing.
The workshop was a nerve-wracking experience at first but once I met all the mentors I felt very welcomed and curious to know what I was going to learn from the day. Just knowing that everyone that surrounded me was deaf just like myself was amazing. I felt that everyone understood each other and shared stories we never thought anyone else would understand.
Honestly, my favourite part of the workshop was when the two guest speakers, Olivia’s sister and Kate's boyfriend, came and talked to us about how they have coped and dealt with living with a deaf person. I found both of their talks extremely interesting as I’ve never been given that opportunity so that was the time to really knuckle down and ask any questions from their point of view.
Overall I learnt an awful lot, not only about myself but other deaf people too and I am looking forward to what lies ahead at the next workshop!
The best thing about the first workshop was the feeling of being a part of something important – and knowing that everyone around you had the shared experience of deafness at some level. Afterwards, we were chuckling to ourselves about how tired we suddenly were, because we'd been operating on a natural high for the whole day!
I just wanted to let you know how much my son, Daniel, has enjoyed the Hear For You workshops so far.
Dan was a bit reluctant to go to the first session . . . but came home so happy - it was obvious that he'd had a great day. When he came home from the second day, he was absolutely exhilarated! I can't wait to see what will happen next!
Thank you so much for giving Dan this rare opportunity to see the heights that he can achieve and to see what he can be. I am very proud of him and so grateful to you and your team for the high quality of the Hear For You program.
Can you please pass on to Dan's mentors, Dave Brady and Kate Locke, our appreciation and admiration for their tender loving care, insight and hard work.
I write in strong support of Hear For You and its founder Olivia Andersen. I have known Olivia for more than 12 months as Hear For You has been co-located at Inspire Foundation.
I commend Hear For You to you as a highly effective and much-needed service for hearing impaired young people and their families. In doing so, I acknowledge the driving force behind Hear For You’s success – the Hear for You mentors. They are kind, highly-committed people dedicated to creating opportunities for young people to lead full and happy lives.
CEO, Inspire Foundation
I have worked as an academic for the last 20 years researching the development of young deaf people and parents’ experiences in raising their deaf child . . . parents feel a strong need to understand what the future might be for their child and how best to develop their child’s potential.
Mentoring programs in the UK and US have been shown to work well but Australia has had no such programs until recently. Hear For You has developed such a program which has been well accepted in the community of parents of deaf children and by educators of the deaf. Hear For You is worthy of support.
Associate Professor Margaret Brown
University of Melbourne
To a subsequent meeting Olivia presented her well thought out and informed proposal which clearly noted her aims and objectives for the program. Her own life experiences added a particular clarity to her ideas which hit a chord with me. For this is an important and often overlooked area in the educational objectives for students with hearing impairment especially for students who are oral and who attend mainstream schools.
It was clear to me that Olivia’s empathic approach to young children and adolescents with hearing impairment and their families will consolidate into a vital initiative that will have a positive impact on the lives of many individuals.
Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children
I write to congratulate Olivia, and thank her, for the excellent DVD presentation that was shown at our recent Graduation Ceremony. That she is a most worthy “Past Graduate of the Year” was clearly evident right from the start. Everyone present commented on her very inspiring address to us and, in particular, her very strong commitment in doing good for others. In short, inspirational!
John Bowie AM
CEO, The Shepherd Centre
Olivia gave a wonderful presentation at the Hearing Unit Parent Meeting. The feedback has been sensational. Both staff and parents are keen for the Hear For You mentors to come back as soon as possible to present a workshop for the students and to also set up an ongoing mentoring program for the students.
Head of Hearing Unit
Deaf Children Australia is a charity representing the needs of 16,000 deaf and hard of hearing children across Australia.
International research has seen significant benefits of mentoring programs for both young deaf people and their families. Mentoring has been found to positively impact the deaf child’s self-esteem and lead to increased opportunities and enhanced enjoyment of life.
Ms Olivia Andersen, founder of Hear For You is a former employee of Deaf Children Australia where she worked prior to setting up her own mentoring program, Hear For You. We have no doubt that Hear For You, will be well received by young deaf and hard of hearing people aged 11 - 18 and their families. Olivia has established an excellent group of mentors who are well equipped to mentor young deaf people in mainstream schools to build their resilience and realise their potential.
In summary, Deaf Children Australia supports Hear For You and wishes their team all the best for the program’s increasing success and expansion.
CEO, Deaf Children Australia
Adolescence can be a challenging time for anyone. Adding a hearing loss to this mix can mean that adolescent may fee disconnected from their peers and from mainstream community. This social isolation has implications for mental wellbeing with young deaf people at greater risk of experiencing anxiety and depression. This in turn can impact on their education and future employment and career prospects.
Deafness Forum strongly endorses the work of Hear For You, which uses mentoring to inspire and encourage young deaf people to reach their full potential. The Hear For You mentors are well equipped to relate to the needs of deaf adolescents to help them build resilience and confidence and to develop social and leadership skills. My personal knowledge of some of the mentors only reinforces my support for this program.
We wish Hear For You every success in delivering this exciting program.
CEO, Deafness Forum of Australia
Thank you so much for coming to present to the SONIC youth connection meeting and running such an interesting seminar. Everyone was very impressed with the quality of the information you had put together and your presentation skills. Thank you for bringing David Brady along as well to contribute his valuable experience from the workplace and advice on careers.
Here at The Shepherd Centre we are very excited about your mentoring project and look forward to watching Hear For You grow and develop. I am sure it will be a great asset for deaf teens, especially those who are in mainstream school, who may not otherwise get to meet other oral deaf youth or relate to someone who truly understands what it is like to grow up with hearing impairment.
Your positive approach and the success you have had in your own life, is a wonderful role model for other deaf youngsters. At our recent graduation ceremony where you made such a moving acceptance speech, you inspired many people. I have no doubt your personal qualities and professionalism will take you a long way with this worthwhile project and I wish you all the very best.
Dr Hester MacMillan
The Shepherd Centre