Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Help America Hear Denver Day of Giving Hearing Aid Mission

Media Contacts:
Mitchel Shapiro Christopher Davies
Tel.631-366-3461 Tel. 303 664-5700
Email: Email:


Support from The Denver International Wine Festival will benefit Denver area residents on November 2, 2011.

Denver, CO, October 11, 2011 –On Wednesday November 2, 2011 the Foundation For Sight & Sound’s Help America Hear Program will be fitting 15 Denver area residents with hearing aids. This Hearing Aid Mission will take place at the Lakewood Hearing & Speech Center, 3110 S Wadsworth Blvd, Suite #107, Lakewood, CO 80227 at 9:30 am.

Randall D. Smith, a hearing instruments specialist, is assisting Mitchell Shapiro and Dave Carr, co-founders of the Help America Hear Program in fitting the recipients. For more info about the Foundation for Sight and Sound visit:

The Foundation For Sight and Sound, a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit organization and their Help America Hear Program provides hearing aids to men, women and children with a moderate to profound hearing loss, that lack the financial resources to obtain them on their own.

The Help America Hear Program was created in January 2009 and has since fitted over 190 people nationwide with high quality Resound hearing aids. With the minimum cost of a hearing aid averaging $2,000, many individuals are unable to afford this necessary tool for improving their quality of life.

The 2011 Denver International Wine Festival will donate a portion of ticket sales and 100% of the proceeds of all silent and live auctions to the Foundation for Sight and Sound and their Help America Hear Program. This not-for-profit has pledged to use these funds to directly help individuals in Denver, Colorado.

Christopher Davies, CEO of Wine Country Network, Inc., the producers of The Denver International Wine Festival said, "We are excited to support The Help America Hear Program for the second year in a row... It's quite fulfilling to see that local residents will receive a direct benefit from our wine festival " Randall D. Smith of Lakewood Hearing & Speech Center said, “We know that when hearing becomes difficult it's often easier to stay at home and avoid family and friends. When you stay at home, you can become isolated and alone. We are reaching out to help.”
The Foundation for Sight & Sound‘s mission is to enhance the quality of life for men women and children with vision and/or hearing challenges.

The Foundation for Sight and Sound has developed the Help America Hear Program to provide hearing aids for men, women and children with limited financial resources.

In most states, Medicare and Medicaid do not cover these costs and many insurance providers do not offer full medical coverage.

The manufacturer suggested retail cost averages from $2,000 to $4,000 per hearing aid. With this program, each person receives: two hearing aids, custom ear molds and one year limited service.

Help America Hear is sponsored by the generosity of hearing health care providers, corporate and private donors, and manufacturers.

The Denver International Wine Festival and Competition are produced by Wine Country Network, Inc. Established in 2005, the annual Denver International Wine Festival is the premier wine and culinary festival in the Rocky Mountains. The festival showcases premium wines from more than 18 countries, together with a signature chef’s food and wine competition, called the Paisine/Taste of Elegance that has been fondly referred to as “Iron Chef™ meets wine.

Main contacts:
Christopher J. Davies & Darcy R. Davies

Taste of Elegance Chefs Food & Wine Competition event info webpage:

2011 Denver International Wine Festival Major Sponsors
-Key Private Bank (presenting sponsor)
-Thermador Kitchen Appliances
-Anheuser-Busch Belgium Beers (Stella Artois, Hoegaarden and Leffe)
-Mountain High Appliance
-Red Bird Farms
-The Broadmoor
-The Omni Interlocken Resort
-Outdoor Kitchen
-The Big Green Egg
-Wisconsin Cheese
-Cooper Mountain

The 2011 Denver International Wine Festival will be held November 2 to 5, 2011.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

What's Your Excuse?

What’s Your Excuse?

It's true, believe it or not! For many, the tendency to procrastinate is overwhelming. Why? Sometimes it’s lack of motivation, depression, laziness, fear of making mistakes or blaming someone or something for why we can't move forward. Many individuals find reasons to put blame on circumstances or people, instead of taking responsibility for the issue at hand. Here is an example. If something goes wrong while using a computer, it becomes the computers fault, when in reality, it's the user who makes the mistake most of the time but refuses to take responsibility or to take the time to investigate what the problem may have been. Typically, the user is in control of all actions. The end result is frustration and quitting. This scenario is relevant to most situations.. Allowing oneself to be victimized by circumstances rather than taking control, limits the individual to the land of excuses.

The first step in overcoming most obstacles is changing our mindset to one that is positive. Extracting all negative thoughts, believing in yourself, taking the approach of CAN DO rather than can’t do. Let’s face it folks, people with or without disabiliteies have a hard time getting started! It’s like a baby taking it’s first step, putting one foot in front of the other, the baby may fall and cry, but gets back up and does it all over again. Challenge yourself to take small steps, allow yourself to work through the task both mentally and physically. The key is to know your abilities and what you are truly capable of.

Sometimes we take things in life for granted, expecting something or someone to take care of it. Ask yourself, what is it that you would like to accomplish today? What steps will you take to achieve the goal? Put it down on paper, it helps make the goal real. Set a time line, challenge yourself. Do & say, I will accomplish the task at hand. I guarantee you will find it worthwhile. Focus on what is, rather then what isn’t. Blank out all the internal chatter or mental garbage which blocks out all the good ideas. A clear vision allows a person to move forward.

Ok, so it sounds easy on paper. It takes a drive within yourself, a strong desire to feel a sense of accomplishment, the determination to be all you can be and the expectation of a world without limits. It’s important to remember you can do anything if you put your mind to it. Ok,yes, perhaps there are limitations at times, but ask yourself what it is you’d like to do and set a plan of action to and get around the limitations. Find the tools necessary to tackle the project. Get started on it and don't make excuses. If your excuse is, I have a disability and I'm not independent, then it’s a simple question back to you. What are you doing about it? Its about choices. Do you have abilities or a disability!

Finally, I know many accomplished people who just happen to have a disability. They've set their eye on a goal, pushed themselves to the limit and then went one step beyond! The choice is yours. It all starts with you! Find a way, Don’t Make Excuses!

Respectfully submitted
Mitchel Shapiro

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Help America Hear Day of Giving Montefiore Hearing Aid Mission

Sights & Sounds

Help America Hear Day of Giving Montefiore Hearing Aid Mission

On Saturday, July 23, 2011 the Foundation for Sight and Sound's Help America Hear program held it’s 3rd “Day of Giving” Hearing Aid Mission at Montefiore Hospital, Bonx NY. This year 12 men, women & children were recipients of two hearing aids each.

From Amanda, age 7, to a young college student and not to forget a few elderly folks who also choose to participate more independently in society. Amanda has progressed in her school wrork and socially since receiving her first hearing aid in last year’s mission. Courteney will be able to function better in college , not just in hearing and comprehending the professors, but with interaction with fellow students.

It’s truly an amazing feeling when you can provide someone with the ability to hear the sounds which surround all of us each day. Many of our recipients have trouble talking on the phone and have to raise the volume of their TV’s and radio’s. Having a conversation can be difficult as the person speaking usually talks louder which comes across to the hard of hearing person as being angry. Each individual at our Day of Giving has expressed their unwavering gratitude upon receiving their new hearing aids. To many of these individuals there is a true understanding of the value of this gift.

The mission was made possible in part from grants received from the Bronx Rotary Club, CVS and Hearing Loss Association of America, Manhatten Chapter. It’s because of organizations like these, we are able to provide the " Gift of Sound” to many people who lack the financial resources to obtain hearing aids on their own.

The mission was spearheaded by Help America Hear Co-founder Dave Carr, a third generation hearing instruments specialist, with assistance from
Laura Tocci, Au.D. Director of Audiology, Speech, and Voice at Montefiore Hospital and the staff of McGuires Hearing & Audiolgical services. The Staff included Mike Taveniere, Frieda Toback, Joanna Coleman, Mary Bohr, Michael Burke and last but not least Nikol Leitner from Montefiore.

Once again, several members of the Bronx Rotary were there to lend support and speak with the hearing aid recipients. The delegation was lead by Miguel Santiago, a big supporter of the Help America Hear Program. Bronx Rotary President Debby Appel, Rotarians Ed Hicks & Ann Ward were on hand to witness the process.

Also in attendance was Eric Charland, Regional Sales Manager for our hearing aid manufactuerer GN ReSound. This is Eric’s first Help America Hear “Day of Giving” Mission and here is what he has to say; “I had the pleasure of being at the most recent Help America Hear mission at Montefiore Hospital on July 23rd. It was an amazing experience. One of the favorite parts about my job is being able to help people that have hearing loss reconnect to their world. To be able to do this for people who are also less fortunate and cannot afford hearing aids makes it much more special. I admire what Mitch and Foundation for Sight and Sound do for these people and look forward to continuing to support this amazing program” –

Of course we can’t leave out the folks at Foundation For Sight & Sound who help make things possible, Mitch, Vivian, volunteers Donna (who took pictures), Leslie & our video producer and videographer, Joani & Dennis.

Yes, a lot of people involved, all giving up their day to provide their services to help people who fall through the cracks and can’t afford a device which can give them a better quality of life. ... you give what you can to make the world a better place.

Respectfully submitted

Mitchel Shapiro

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Perspective from a Volunteer

I would like to give you my perspective as a volunteer for the Foundation For Sight and Sound on my being able to participate in the Hearing Mission at Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, N.Y. on Saturday, July 23, 2011. It was one of the most heart warming experiences I have ever had. I feel blessed to be part of the Foundation For Sight and Sound and what it stands for. I would like to share a few stories with you that still bring tears to my eyes. One is from college student who told me he was teased most of his life because of his hearing limitations. The other is from a gentleman who told me, he struggled to come into this country and raise his two children. He is a religious person who prays to G-d every day and for years he has been asking G-d to send him a messenger to give him back his hearing. He said to me, you see that man over there, pointing to you, he is the messanger from G-d I have been waiting for. Then Amanda, a little girl who was born with an 80 percent hearing loss who received a hearing aid for one ear last year from the FSS and received a hearing aid for other ear on Saturday. I have developed a bond with these individuals and they will stay in my heart forever.
Leslie Smouha

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Sights & Sounds

Volunteering is a form of community service and can be best described as “Paying it forward” with your time, services or financially. It is an essential part of our daily lives.

In the earlier centuries, women were the crux of the volunteer forces. In the past a women’s role was to take care of the household. With many there was a lot of downtime. There was an urgency for volunteers. There were the World Wars, disasters and simply the sick and poor who had nothing or anyone to help them. At that same time period it was the man’s role to support the household financially. When the wars broke out, men volunteered for the armed forces to help fight for freedom.

There are many ways a person can get involved. Think about our volunteer fire departments, not only do the men and women help put out fires they answer calls for many other emergencies especially their ambulance services. The role they play in the community is vital and saves lives while they put their lives in danger many times. Why does someone become a volunteer for their local fire department? It gives a person an s sense of community spirit, pride to be a part of a group of other caring individuals and gratification to know they have helped someone.

Our Armed forces depend on volunteers to help keep our country safe and to provide safety and freedom the world over. Of course being a volunteer can provide a myriad of benefits. When you become part of the Armed forces a person gains skills and training as well as getting a strong education and travel.

There are so many civic organizations around the country and the world. Groups such as Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, elks & Moose Lodges, VFW Halls SERTOMA and many others. Civic organizations were built upon the premise of helping humankind. Like any organization there is the commonality of camaraderie and gratification of doing service in the community.

Not for Profit organizations are the core where most people volunteer their time and resources. Charitable organizations provide financial assistance, research, or services of enormous magnitude. Once again, people get involved for a variety of reasons sometimes simply to fill a void in their own lives as they feel there is enough time on their hands and they can help others less fortunate. Sometimes it’s a person who has been a recipient of help from an organization or individual and that person also chooses to “pay it forward” to someone else.

Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes. They get involved in a special event, collecting food or money. They participate in an event to help facilitate the many chores which helps the event run smoothly.. A volunteer has many skills and utilize their abilities to make a difference to the organization they become involved in.

Paying it forward simply means when it’s given you give it to someone else rather then give something back to the source it came from. There is nothing wrong with paying it back; it’s rather nice to just pass along the goodness to another needy person.

It doesn’t’ matter if a person is differently abled or not. It’s a sense of accomplishment especially when you are involved in a cause that you are passionate about. Perhaps it may be an organization which provides a service you benefitted from or does research to find a cure for a disease you or someone you know is afflicted by. Whatever the case, just do it for the reason that is most meaningful to you. It’s not about what you receive, but rather what everyone gains as a whole. Volunteering is about giving, if you give of yourself with no expectations the returns will come on their own.

Get involved today, Make a difference to someone else. do something. It’s a great way to meet people and build relationships with others who care!

Respectfully submitted

Mitchel Shapiro

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Let Freedom Ring!

Sights & Sounds

Let Freedom Ring

Everyone has their own interpretation of what freedom means. It's probably a fair assumption that most people think of freedom as the ability to live independently with minimal restrictions on their lifestyle. Everything within reason of course.

When it comes to someone with a disability, especially, but not limited to, a person who is vision and hearing challenged, it becomes life altering. Freedom of movement becomes one of the most challenging for someone who is visually challenged or blind. I have met several individuals who harbor anger within. This anger is expressed through body language, tone of voice and their overall demeanor. Freedom of expression is a great tool, but in my opinion, a positive outlook renders a more positive outcome in life.

Freedom is earned, it is not an entitlement. Our forefathers were forced to fight to earn the freedom we all enjoy today. However, we sometimes need to be advocates for ourselves first before we can be advocates for others, the goal being the betterment of humanity. The Americans with Disabilities Act came about as the result of the hard work and ‘fighting spirit’ to provide accessibility & equality for the “Differently Abled” community. The ADA has provided a means of accessibility which allows for a better mode of freedom with less restrictions. This friends is what Freedom is all about. Working hard for the positive outcome which allows each and every person the same rights.

So, back to mobility. As a visually challenged person, the freedom to move about independently can be a difficult subject. A blind person is simply someone who cannot see and has a physical restriction to moving about freely without the possibility of injuring oneself. A person with limited vision, unless trained to use a ‘white cane’ or guide dog, has difficulty walking the sidewalks or country roads without fear of the many obstacles along the way.

I cannot tell a person what to do, but I do have a few simple suggestions. If you are reading this and have mobility issues, and if you really want to get out there, find the tools which work best for you. Make friends or reach out to family for support. Get over your fear of asking for help, it is not a sign of weakness but rather showing the desire and determination to lead a full life like anyone else. Reach out to one of the many assistance programs that can help teach you to be more independent. Give yourself permission to have the freedom to do what you’d like to do in life. Don’t hold back! Like Nike’s commercial said…. “Just Do it!”

Let Freedom Ring!

Respectfully submitted

Mitchel Shapiro

*** The articles on this blog do not always represent the the the mission or purpose of hte Fsoundation for Sight & Sound but rather a viewpoint of hte founder Mitch Shapiro.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What a Month!

Sights & Sounds……..

It’s been a whirlwind of a month, I must say. Starting the first week of June with a week in Colorado. Here's what happened:

The Foundation For Sight & Sound held it’s first Brewmaster Golf Classic on June 6th with 30 happy golfers. The event was full of fun, along with, of course …, lunch, and a nice BBQ dinner. A heartfelt thank you to Ken Kelly who helped put this event together. Also, a very special thank you to the many volunteers who helped make the day a great one!

Tuesday was the Taste of Elegance Beer & Food Pairing Competition. 100% of the auction proceeds went directly to benefit the foundation. It was a well attended event and of course we were delighted to to have the foundation be a part of it. You can see the pictures by going to our photo gallery.

The Day of Giving Hearing Aid Mission is a beautiful illustration of how the foundations funds are utilized. I’m sure if you are reading the blog, you read the last post about this!

Finally, the trip ended with a 20 minute presentation to the Arapaho SERTOMA group where an accounting of the weeks activities were discussed. Donnalee told an emotional story about Shirley Hicks who was a reciepient of 2 hearing aids. I must admit I had some tears in my eyes, as did at least 6 other grown men. Donnalee was proud to participate in our first Pueblo mission and was responsible for the photography.

At the end of our trip, we took the Red Eye home with very little sleep, almost not getting on the plane as it was a full flight. Thanks to Jet Blue, they worked their magic and got us on as scheduled and got us home safely. A special thank you to Michael Arthurs who was able to save the foundation money by donating the two round trip tickets. I was back to work by 10am but fell asleep at the computer.

Saturday morning it was up early to Rappell down a 12 story building to raise money for the Foundation For Sight & Sound. I was one of the first people to go Over the Edge. But as luck would have it, I got hung up around the 4th floor (just felt like hanging out) as my brake locked. I had trouble loosening it but after 10 minutes I was finally able to lower myself. Aww, what the heck, it was no big deal, nothing to panic about.

Well, the following week was yet another big challenge as I rode my tandem bike 100 miles. Donnalee was at the helm navigating and steering the bike to it’s final destination… beautiful Montauk! I must tell you though, that when we got to the 50 mile checkpoint, Donna was tired and said that she wasn't sure she would make it the next 50 miles. So being the nice guy that I am, I gave her a choice to continue or turn back….chuckle. It took us 11 ½ hours total with 10 hours actual riding. Riding a tandem bike is a bit slower due to more weight and drag. I was so jealous of the folks who did it in half the time, but honestly, another new accomplishment. So what should I do next? Skydiving?

This past week I flew back to Colorado to give an inspiring motivational presentation to the Colorado Hearing Society. I guess they did actually enjoy it since they laughed at my corny jokes and payed attention to my messages. Interestingly enough, the interactive audience participation with blindfolds and earplugs are always a big hit and never fails at driveing a good many points home. The presentation was almost 2 hours and was probably one of my better presentations.

I’m now back to work on the Foundation For Sight & Sound’s many exciting projects including our upcoming Day of Giving at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx on July 23, our 2nd annual Golf Classic at Sandspoint and too finish off the summer, it's The Family & Friends Summer End Bash at the Crest Hollow CC. I do hope I'll see you at one of these events.

The Help America Hear Program continues to fit more people and there are more inquires for applications. Since January 2009 we have fit over 180 men, women &children with hearing aids. During this time period, there have been over 1400 requests for applications.

The Foundation depends on corporate and private donations. If you know someone who has the capacity to make a donation, please send them our way. It is appreciated more then words can express.. Please consider putting us in your year end giving plan or in your will.

More to come soon……

Respectfully submitted…….

Mitchel Shapiro