Thunderbird Charities, the charitable giving arm of the Thunderbirds recently donated $80,000 to Desert Voices. For the past 17 years, Thunderbirds Charities has been a supporter of Desert Voices, Arizona’s only nonprofit listening and spoken language program for children born deaf and hard of hearing.
Desert Voices offers two programs: Early Intervention for children birth to age 3, where a child learns to hear and speak one sound at a time; and Early Education, which takes children from age 3 to age 5 or 6 when they mainstream to traditional schools. By this time, the children speak about 3,000 words and have experienced a pre-school environment where they learn to read and write.
The grant from Thunderbird Charities will support Desert Voices’ Toddler Room, a two-to-three times weekly half-day program for children age 2 to 3. It moves the children from Parent-Child Therapy, where babies learns sounds, into a language-rich environment where they learn about 250 words. The beginning vocabulary is the foundation for teaching complex language in a pre-school program where children learn to speak, have conversations, read and write. It prepares them for traditional kindergarten or the first grade of their parents’ choice.
“We are pleased to support Desert Voices and help them continue to achieve their mission to teach children born deaf to develop to their maximum potential through listening and spoken language,” says Andy Markham, president of Thunderbirds Charities.