To establish a nondiscriminatory community between the hearing, deaf, and those who fall between the wide spectrum of hearing loss. To generate an inclusive, compassionate, and synergetic existence between all peoples. To not only create but promote awareness through funding projects and community events that assist in expanding the minds of communities all over the country, and perhaps, one day, the world.
Why We Do:
Our hope is that The Smile and Nod Project will serve as a reminder that hearing loss isn't a sentence, letting those that do suffer know that in the challenges they face, they are not alone. No one should feel discriminated against for the degree of hearing loss they have. It is not only ok to have your own journey, but we’d like to encourage people to share their story. Though there are no two people alike, we have multiple similarities. The more we share, the more awareness we create, the more understanding we spread.
HOW WE MAKE IT HAPPEN:
50% of the proceeds that are purchased will go toward spreading awareness as well as our mission. Listen up because this involves you. We will be seeking out qualified candidates and organizations to empower financially as it relates to improving understanding and functioning in everyday environments for better communication. This could be anything from funding sign language or speech classes for an individual or family member, to funding an individual in need of hearing aids or cochlear implants.
Join us on our journey as we create and promote communication equality. Help us fund the right to understand and be understood.
Crystal Vaccaro is a hearing healthcare advocate. She is the founder of Hearing Loss Support and does outreach to get free captioned telephones to the deaf and hard of hearing community. She was welcomed into the world of hearing loss as a freshman in college when meeting her best friend, Meg Tufo (Yes, the same Meg Tufo on The Smile and Nod team). After learning sign language from Meg, she moved to Colorado where she began working in Deaf and Hard of Hearing Communication. She strives to promote a healthy understanding around hearing loss reminding people that hearing loss does not look the same for everyone. She encourages us all to stand above judgment and discrimination while navigating a personalized path within a world of hearing loss.
Spencer Kontnik is one of the founding partners of Kontnik | Cohen, LLC. He dedicated a significant portion of his practice to working with deaf and hard of hearing clients. Spencer helped found “The Smile and Nod Project” to promote awareness and a stronger sense of community among the deaf, hard of hearing and hearing community. Many of Spencer’s clients have been subject to discrimination and unwarranted hardship. Hearing loss is not a “disability.” “The Smile and Nod Project” is Spencer’s way of giving back. He was born with good hearing but when he was six years old he was hit in the head with a baseball bat at recess while playing baseball with his friends. Spencer’s hearing loss was a shock for Spencer and his family but his hearing loss has helped shape his identity as a professional and an advocate. Spencer knows he wouldn’t be where he is today without a little help and hopes he can pay it forward with “The Smile and Nod Project.”
Meg Tufo is thrilled to contribute to the Smile and Nod project. She was born profoundly deaf and was raised in the hearing world while using sign language as a primary mode of communication, which has led to a lot of smiling and nodding. Projects like this make her feel hopeful about fostering a stronger link between all members of the Deaf, deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing communities
If you have personal experience from hearing loss, we want to hear from you! Please send us ideas about subjects we should cover, solutions that have changed your life, or feedback about the content of this site. We would also love to help you share your story. If you want to tell your story please contact one of us today!