Transcript link to interview between 2GB Ben Fordham and mentee Olivia Barnes
Updated – December 2015. Hear For You is pleased to be able to present to you its series of special testimonial videos from parents and past mentors about Hear For You. Click on one of the testimonial links below to see the video.
Hear For You relies on the generosity and time provided by our volunteer Mentors to be there for the deaf or hard of hearing/hearing impaired teenagers. Here are some insights into why they volunteer:
“It only takes one person to make a difference to someone else’s life and volunteering as a mentor means I have a chance to share my life experience with a mentee and guide them in the direction they want to head in.”
Bradley Jardine, QLD Auslan Mentor since 2014
“I volunteered to mentor as there wasn’t much support for teenagers when I was a teenager. Being a teenager is a very difficult time so I believe the Hear for You program is a great one to help deaf and hard of hearing navigate adolescence and build confidence. It was also great to meet other deaf and hard of hearing adults and share our experiences.”
Kate Wilson, QLD Oral Mentor since 2017
“I volunteer to mentor to enrich a future generation that is currently ignored. Each and every one of us has capacity to be great As a mentor, you may be lucky enough to witness the beginnings of greatness. I understand the importance of having good people around you in life. Hear For You provides a platform to gain good people. I can walk in with selfish purposes, but every time (without fail) I’m changed by the mentees. They give as much to me as I do to them.”
Jessica Moody, Vic Oral Mentor since 2012
“I volunteer because it’s a pleasure to help these young people through their lives – even if it’s just answering questions or relating to similar experiences as a deaf/hard of hearing. Its lovely investing in lives where you know it will benefit them, and it makes me feel like i benefit too! I often learn from them too. Personally i also enjoy the contact and community of the other mentors that I volunteer with. People with the same passion (in a way it’s like the mentoring i never had as a kid, i now have as an adult! 😉 )”
Heather Hunt, NSW Oral Mentor since 2012
“Great to hear everybody’s stories about being Deaf and also to learn about other workshops/resources”
Parent of Year 7 mentee
“My daughter was inspired and felt more confident about her future options”
Parent of Year 11 mentee
“Fantastic and very valuable program. Programs like this help to validate the young deaf person’s worth, improve self-esteem, networks and provide ‘lived’ experiences that teenagers can relate to. I very much appreciate it. Thank you!”
Parent of Year 9 mentee
“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.”
Year 11 mentee
“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 favorite 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!”
Year 12 mentee
“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 being deaf 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.”
NSW Oral Mentor
“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!”
NSW Oral Mentor
“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,”
Parent of Year 12 mentee
“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
“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