Dedicated to making sure anyone with hearing loss has every opportunity to engage fully in life, relationships and passions, despite their socioeconomic status, Lititz-based A&E Hearing Connection was founded in 2017 to provide affordable, gold-standard audiological care to under-served children and adults in Lancaster and around the world.
To keep its programs sustainable, A&E relies on the support of its community through grants, donations, corporate sponsorships and volunteers. Inspired by the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — “Everybody can be great because anybody can serve” — A&E started an innovative program using a new concept known as the Circle of Giving that it learned from colleagues at Hearing the Call based in Indiana.
Through the program, patients pay for hearing health care and services, including hearing aids, in two ways: a sliding-scale fee based on income or by paying it forward through volunteering time to a charitable organization of their choice and performing acts of service for others.
Prior to launching its Circle of Giving program, A&E had noticed that patients who received hearing aids for free did not place as much value on them and were more likely to give up trying to use them. Thanks to the program, patients feel they have paid for their hearing aids with time and money, rather than being given a hand out, and they are more engaged in the care they are receiving.
To qualify for the Circle of Giving program, which is financial eligibility-based, patients must not exceed an annual household income of up to 250% of the federal poverty level.
Since opening its doors, A&E has helped more than 80 individuals through its Circle of Giving program. In return, those individuals are helping to improve their own community while gaining a sense of pride and ownership. It’s a win-win, for the patient and the community, which has benefited from thousands of hours of community service.
Emergency Assistance and Response Team) pilot program. HEART works with people experiencing homelessness to help them access safe and inclusive housing and will mitigate their vulnerability to COVID-19 by providing PPE, hand sanitizer and other protective resources.