Blog\November 2014\First CARE Project Retreat for Teens Held on Bald Head Island

First CARE Project Retreat for Teens Held on Bald Head Island

Care Project
Guest written by Emily Caulfield
In early October, The Care Project Retreat for Teens came to Bald head island. The Care Project, founded in Wilmington, North Carolina, by audiologist Johnnie Sexton and his partner and media director Xris Kessler, concentrates much of its effort on setting families with children who have hearing loss on a spectacular journey of understanding and resilience. 
Before this fall, their family retreats have centered on young parents with new babies diagnosed with hearing loss, parents with "normal" hearing, who are bewildered and often distraught at the news that their brand new perfect baby has a disability. With the help of sponsorship from Siemens Hearing Instruments, the Care Project retreat for teens was conceived. Earlier this month, they came to Bald Head Island to connect families who are impacted by hearing loss.  
Many of these children don't know anyone else their age who has hearing loss. They live in a world, that, despite all the support of a loving family, feels overwhelmingly isolating.  Here in the safety and beauty of the North Carolina coastline, they can sit back, relax, and relate to each other in a way that they, before this, perhaps couldn't imagine. 
Sexton and his volunteers stressed the importance of connecting on this journey together, that the Care Project offers solutions in its simplicity. The simplicity of connecting to someone just like you, someone wonderful, and in the confines of the retreat, it's easy to get close. To forge lifelong friendships, to discover someone exciting, whose life has everything and nothing to do with hearing loss. 
The best way to demonstrate this freedom is Sexton's careful selection of volunteers, many of whom are hearing impaired themselves, and who offer a glimpse of a life beyond the technology which aids their hearing, their experience of the world. 
As Sexton said, "The number one thing that the kids and the parents loved most was the fact that we had young adults who are impacted by hearing loss to interact with, chat with, spend time gives a sense of what a future could be for any of the was wonderful to witness!"
And this sentiment was echoed by volunteers as well, who have been through it.  As one hearing impaired volunteer, Emily Catherine Burt, said, "with hearing loss, communication is a challenge for children. It is more difficult for them to break the ice, form friendships, etc.  However, they always manage to find a way! Having a common ground most definitely helps."

Published on Monday, November 3, 2014

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