GIVING NONVERBAL CHILDREN A VOICE
Pictured (l to r): Charlie LaVallee, Variety, and Jacob Buchheit and family (mother and brother)
HM Health Solutions (HMHS) is a strong supporter of the community. The company and its employees regularly donate time and resources to several nonprofit organizations. For example, HMHS employees volunteer their skills with Variety, the children's' charity. By donating their time and technical expertise, the volunteer team gave a voice to children who previously had none.
Children with disorders such as autism, brain damage, and cerebral palsy face more than medical challenges; they also may not be able to speak. For these children and their loved ones, basic communication brings daily frustration. Plus, limited interaction leaves children isolated, lonely, and potentially vulnerable.
That's where innovative solutions like My Voice come in. A modified iPad, My Voice allows users to type in phrases or tap onscreen photos or icons to convey their thoughts, which the device then speaks aloud. During a two-day leadership event in January 2017, HMHS employees raised more than $42,000 — enough to buy 35 devices, giving 35 children a voice anytime, anywhere. One recipient was Jacob Buchheit, who has cerebral palsy.
Jacob demonstrated how he communicates with the device — and seized the opportunity to do stand-up comedy and tell Steelers jokes. His performance revealed a sense of humor that prompted the HMHS team to adopt him as an honorary member. As it did for Jacob, My Voice lets nonverbal children break barriers and reveal their emotions, intellect, and unique personality.
"HMHS' leadership role in supporting the My Voice program has been critical in building a solid foundation to take this hidden issue and make it a visible community issue," said Charlie LaVallee, chief executive officer at Variety.
BEYOND FUNDRAISING, HMHS SUPPORTED VARIETY IN 2017 BY:
- preparing My Voice devices for children's use
- developing a long-term digital strategy, including automated applications and reports
- building a database of Pennsylvania occupational, physical, and speech therapists, with the help of AHN
Inspired by the charity, HMHS volunteers have formed a network to continue meeting the needs of disabled children and their families for years to come.
VOLUNTEER ORGANIZATIONS THAT HMHS HAS CHAMPIONED
HM Health Solutions is proud to give back to the community. Each year the company identifies organizations that it will champion. HM Health Solutions has selected Variety, the Children’s Charity to support in 2017. HM Health Solutions’ efforts will focus on their “My Voice” program, which provides a communication device to children with a communication disorder to give them a voice at all times. Organizations that employees have identified in the past have been Volunteers of America (VOA) and the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Because of HM Health Solutions’ strong belief in the power of giving back, these organizations have received generous support from HM Health Solutions employees for the charitable causes that they elect to support every year.
- Volunteers of America – refurbished home
- Boy Scouts of America
- Challenged Athletes Foundation
- Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)
- Ronald McDonald House