By: Joshua Danker-Dake | Category: Other | Issue: February 2011
TSHA Executive Director René Ryan, Board President Leslie Brier, board member and Souper Sunday Chair Ryan Zilm, and volunteer Cody Francisco signing (in order) “football,” “soup,” “Sunday” and “football.”
Odds are, you know at least one person, maybe more than one, with some sort of hearing loss. According to the Total Source for Hearing-loss and Access (TSHA), at least one out of every ten people has hearing loss and, as more people live longer, that number may increase. Impaired or lost hearing is more than an inconvenience – it can lead people away from their social connections and into isolation. TSHA works to help these people reconnect, and their annual Souper Sunday fundraiser is a great way you can help them do it.
Formed in 1954 by a group of parents of deaf children, TSHA, a United Way agency, has come a long way. TSHA now helps people of all ages and with all degrees of hearing loss. “We serve the signing deaf, but we also serve the hard of hearing, and those who can’t afford their hearing aids,” says Diana Higgins, TSHA’s community relations manager.
Now in its 29th year, TSHA’s Souper Sunday fundraising event will be held February 27 at SpiritBank Event Center at 105th and Memorial. Here, you can try dozens of savory soups from local restaurants, enjoy all the bread and dessert you like, and bid on hundreds of silent auction items in all price ranges. Participating restaurants donate the food as well as the service staff, and proceeds support TSHA’s community programs.
“This is a relaxed, family-friendly event, with lots of amazingly wonderful food,” says Higgins. “We had over 600 people last year, and we should have at least that many this year. The deaf community is so close, and so friendly. For us, it’s like a huge family reunion, but our newcomers love it too – they feel that warmth.”
This year, Souper Sunday is returning to its original theme – football – and a number of improvements have been made as well. “Last year was our first event at SpiritBank Event Center, and it went really well,” says Higgins. “People loved the new location. SpiritBank has a lot of style – it’s a very nice building.” A second year in the venue has allowed TSHA to streamline things. “Last year, our board stepped in and took charge of the fundraiser, so this second year should go even more smoothly,” says Higgins. “And the kids’ corner, which was new and very popular last year, is bigger and improved for this year. We have some truly amazing face painters.”
TSHA serves the community in a number of ways. TSHA’s Interpreter Referral Program, which provides sign language interpreters for the deaf when they visit Oklahoma schools, businesses, doctors’ offices, hospitals and courthouses, is the oldest and largest in the state. Last year, IRP covered over 6,000 assignments.
The Independent Living Program offers training and services in housekeeping, money management, legal issues, transportation, consumer information, and community services to the deaf and hard of hearing community.
TSHA also maintains a lending library, and offers sign language classes to the public, a hearing aid recycling program, and an equipment loan program where people and companies can try telecommunication devices for the hard of hearing before they buy.
This year’s Souper Sunday fundraiser is February 27 from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the SpiritBank Event Center. Tickets for adults are $20 in advance or $25 at the door, tickets for kids under age 12 are $10 in advance or $15 at the door, and 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. Corporate and individual sponsorships for Souper Sunday are also available. You can visit TSHA on the web at www.tsha.cc.