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2020 Focus on
People Awards

Student category

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Owen Chapman

Mt. Pleasant, SC

Seventeen-year-old Owen called upon his own experience with hearing loss to develop an Eagle Scout project that would be meaningful to his community and himself. His choice: a community-wide drive to collect new and used hearing aids and monetary donations to support the Lion Clubs International hearing aid recycling program. The high school honor student enlisted the cooperation of local hearing centers and businesses to display the collection bins he fashioned from discarded water jugs. To ensure his project’s success and drive community awareness of hearing loss, Owen wrote and produced a public service announcement that recently aired on the local iHeart Radio station.

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Wyllow MacLaren

Cleveland, TN

The little girl selling chocolate-covered strawberries is more than a budding entrepreneur. Eight-year-old Wyllow is on a mission to make a positive difference. “The Giving Berries” charity grew out of Wyllow’s desire to raise funds to gift the first American Girl doll to wear a hearing aid to every child in her summer camp for children with hearing loss. She succeeded! With the help of other young volunteers, Wyllow continues “The Giving Berries” fundraisers to benefit local causes. Her mom says, “Wyllow knows that to make a change in the world you need to step up and set an example. She takes that step every time she gets out of her booth to sell her berries.”

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Sara Rodriguez

San Antonio, TX

As an incoming freshman, Sara discovered a need to improve communication opportunities for students with hearing loss on campus and in the local community. She organized an American Sign Language (ASL) Club to spread awareness of hearing loss and help build a stronger community that engaged all students, including those with hearing loss. As club president, Sara teaches ASL and works with club members to provide signing for extracurricular events. She also proposed and wrote a new school CART policy to better support students who have difficulty hearing at a distance in classrooms or larger lecture halls. For her contributions, Sara earned both her college’s Emerging Leader and Leadership & Service awards.

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