Lake County group sets up hearing aid fund

Published2/2/2008 12:28 AM

Lake County's poor families can't afford groceries let alone medical bills, says one organization that wants to make it easier for those with hearing-impaired children to obtain hearing aids.

The Special Education District of Lake County Foundation has set up a "Help Them To Hear" fund, which aims to provide hearing aids and other hearing assistance technology to deaf and hard-of-hearing children.


A set of hearing aids could cost $1,500 to $6,000.

"That obviously is a hardship for a lot of the families because of the costs involved," said Christine Jakubec, coordinator of the special education district's audiological services department, which will run the program.

Though some families are eligible for financial assistance through state agencies, Jakubec said, the program helps people who don't meet the state's requirements.

More than 400 children in SEDOL's 36 member school districts cannot hear anything or have trouble hearing and could be served through the program.

It is funded by a $10,000 grant from David and Donna Raye of Lake Forest, owners of The Goddard School in Third Lake.

Raye, a SEDOL Foundation board member, struggled with a hearing disorder as a child that led to delayed speech development and self-esteem problems.

"I was very fortunate to be able to work through that," he said. "There is so much technology and so much opportunity that no child should be faced with difficulties of not being able to hear properly."

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Raye plans to endow the program with $10,000 annually, but he hopes other individuals and foundations also will step up to support it.

"There are no administrative costs at all," Raye said. "Whatever money is put into that fund will go directly to families."

To be eligible to apply, students must be enrolled with SEDOL in Gages Lake.

"It's definitely going to be based on need … whether people can afford it or not, that's really the bottom line," Raye said.

To support the "Help Them To Hear" program, visit or call (847) 548-7032. Donations may be made to the SEDOL Foundation, 34638 N. Route 45, Third Lake, IL 60030.

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