By: Joshua Danker-Dake | Category: Health & Fitness | Issue: March 2010
Outback Steakhouse’s booth was a big hit at last year’s Souper Sunday fundraiser.
One out of every ten Americans will experience some degree of hearing loss at some point in their lives, says Diana Higgins, community relations manager for Total Source for Hearing Loss and Access (TSHA). And as more Americans live longer, that number may increase.
TSHA serves people of all ages and all degrees of hearing loss. “TSHA is here not just for the signing deaf, but also for your hard-of-hearing grandmother and your neighbor who can’t afford his hearing aid,” says Higgins. “Hearing loss isn’t just a nuisance – it isolates people because it leads them to withdraw from their social connections. TSHA works to bridge that gap and help them reconnect socially.”
The organization has come a long way since its inception. “TSHA started in 1954, at a time when there was nothing out there for deaf children. Parents of these kids got together and raised money to hire a teacher, and we’ve grown from that,” says Higgins. “Most deaf children are born to hearing parents, who often don’t know what to do, and these children frequently grow up with poor communication skills.”
Today, TSHA offers a wide array of services. Their Interpreter Referral Service, which sends sign language interpreters to Oklahoma businesses, schools, doctors’ and lawyers’ offices, courts, and hospitals, is the oldest and largest such program in the state. TSHA’s Independent Living Program offers skills training to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community; topics include housekeeping, money management, legal issues, transportation, consumer information, community services and more. TSHA also offers a hearing aid recycling program, sign language classes for the public, a lending library, and an equipment loan program for people and companies to try out telecommunication devices before purchasing.
The staff of Full Moon Café was all smiles while offering up delicious soup at the 2009 Souper Sunday.
On March 7, TSHA is holding its 28th annual Souper Sunday fundraiser. Here you can try over 20 different soups from local restaurants, enjoy all the bread and dessert you can handle, and bid on hundreds of silent auction items.
“Souper Sunday is an accessible, relaxed, casual fundraiser,” says Higgins. “It’s not like any other fundraiser. The deaf and hard-of-hearing community is very close and very friendly, and Souper Sunday feels like a 600-person family reunion.”
It’s also one of the most affordable fundraisers around. “We’ve worked to keep the ticket cost for this event low, because we want the deaf community and their families to be able to come,” says Higgins. “Our silent auction is also very affordable – we have many small items.” Participating restaurants donate both the soups and the service staff.
Souper Sunday is March 7 from 3:30 to 6 p.m. at the SpiritBank Event Center (105th and Memorial). Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under in advance, or $23 and $13 at the door. Kids five and under get in free.For more information, tickets to Souper Sunday, or to find out other ways you can help, give TSHA a call at (918) 832-8742. You can visit TSHA on the web at www.tsha.cc.