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|The heart of Quota: Club hosts speech, hearing day|
Dozens of Ouachita Parish and Monroe City School children were treated with a fun-filled day at Kiroli Park for the first-ever Speech and Hearing Day.
The event was sponsored by Quota International of Monroe.
Children were allowed to see a fire truck, take nature walks throughout the park, and they participated in other activities such as face painting and story time.
Twila Crockett, Quota's event coordinator, said the Quota club wants to make the Speech and Hearing Day an annual event.
"It's designed for any child in northeast Louisiana with any type of speech or hearing impairment," she said.
According to the Quota club's research, there are about 1,100 children in the Ouachita Parish school system who have some type of hearing or speech issue.
"That doesn't include the Monroe City Schools, and it doesn't include all the other children in Ouachita Parish, or even those in northeast Louisiana," Crockett said.
She said the event was not solely for students in the Ouachita Parish or Monroe City school systems. Any child in northeast Louisiana who has a hearing or speech issue was welcome to attend any of Quota International of Monroe's events.
"The heartbeat of Quota International is speech and hearing," Crockett said. "Because of that, that's why we're creating that heartbeat here in our local community."
"We help children who don't have hearing aids get hearing aids, and we help other people — such as disadvantaged women — get hearing aids," she said. "But this event is to celebrate these children and give them an opportunity to have some social interaction because most of the time they don't get that. They don't get the opportunity to interact socially with other kids like themselves because they are in other programs around school."
Crockett encouraged any local parent or guardian who has a child with speech and hearing impairment to look into the services Quota International offers.
"Our thing is helping kids," she explained. "We just want the public to know that hearing and speech is a big deal. It's all about communication, and that's what we do.
"We have to help these kids communicate. We want this to become an avenue so parents will have a social network with other parents. When you have a child who is deaf and the whole family has to learn to communicate via sign language, that is a big deal. So we want to provide a support group for those families. It's my personal goal to help people understand sign language.
"We are a multi-cultured area with people who speak different languages. So, we don't need to exclude our deaf because they speak a language, too. It would be a great thing for us to help the community learn basic signs to help them communicate with our deaf residents."
Quota International of Monroe was joined by the West Monroe Fire Department, ULM Speech and Hearing Department, ULM School of Nursing, and the Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office for the event.