The following story is from Aimee Jalowsky on the impact and perception of being a volunteer for the Foundation for Safer Housing.
On Friday, I went to meet a woman named Sammie. Little did I know that event would change my view on human existence. At 6 o’clock I was to arrive in Golden to drop off a smoke detector for Sammie, a hearing-impaired woman. I arrived a few minutes early and was greeted by Sammie and her parents. We went inside, I gave her the smoke detector, took a picture with her, and that seemed to be the end of the interaction. I felt the need to stay and converse with Sammie, even though she could not hear my voice. I stayed, and throughout the course of the next hour, I learned that Sammie, who cannot hear, has so many options available to her to communicate to the outside world. She showed me her phone which had a full service keyboard so that she could in essence, call whomever she wanted via text messaging and they could reply in much the same manner. I was truly amazed at how much there is in the world to offer the hard of hearing. We then turned our attention back to the smoke detector and we tested it. The reason for my visit was to present a smoke detector to Sammie so that she, being hearing impaired, would have one that could save her life in a fire. Smoke detectors for the hearing impaired are equipped with not only an alarm, but a strobe light that blinks bright enough to wake the sleeping. I couldn’t help but laugh when Sammie said the light could wake the dead! I was taken back when Sammie asked if it made any noise or if it was just the light. The audible alarm was so loud, seemed louder than any regular alarm I have heard, the dogs even left the room when it came on. I realized then how truly fortunate I was to be able to hear that alarm, and every other sound I take for granted. It was all I had not to cry when I asked Sammie if she thought it would wake her up. As she cradled the alarm in her arms, she said absolutely it would. She then said she was so grateful for the alarm, she has been so afraid to live alone again because she would never hear a smoke alarm. I told her that she could also take the alarm with her when she traveled as it ran off of a standard outlet. She said she will be able to sleep peacefully, knowing that if there were a fire danger, she would be woken up by the flashing strobe light. She said she felt safe. I hugged her goodbye and tears welled in my eyes as I left her house that night. On my way home I listed to every song on the radio, every sound I could hear, and was extremely grateful to have and be able to use my senses. I thank the Foundation for Safer Housing for allowing me the opportunity to present the smoke alarm to Sammie. I thank Sammie and her family for allowing me to come into their lives and learn about a life different than my own.
With Thanksgiving Day just around the corner and as we enter into the full Holiday season, I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of those who helped the Foundation either as a volunteer or donator this year. Remember! Be thankful for who your are, where you are and what you possess. Keep your family and friends close, the inner richs are far more valuable than baubles.
Thank you Aimee for sharing your story with us