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2021 Focus on
People Awards

Student category

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Demii Wright

Madison, WI

Ten-year-old Demii turned her experience of being bullied by classmates into a source of inspiration and support for other young people with hearing loss. What began as a journaling exercise to cope with her feelings formed the foundation for “Can You Hear Me Now?”, a book to help young people who are hearing abled understand hearing loss and to empower students with hearing loss and other challenges to feel seen and heard. Demii is donating proceeds from sales of her book to local hospitals and schools to help youngsters who face similar challenges. She has also helped to ensure that donated copies of her book can be found in clinics and hospitals throughout Wisconsin.

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Hunter Martin

Illiopolis, IL

Thirteen-year-old Hunter is a shining example of what one small voice can accomplish for so many! At age 7, he began working with legislators to advocate for insurance to cover hearing aids for all children in Illinois. Three years later, he proudly stood with the Governor when the landmark bill requiring insurance providers to cover new hearing aids for children 18 and under every three years was signed in to law. Hunter’s crusade continues. When he discovered that some companies used a loophole in the law to avoid offering coverage, he began writing letters and meeting with CEOs and human resource directors to encourage them to add hearing aid coverage to their policies.

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Lauren King

Chester, VA

As a young girl, Lauren dreamed of skating in the Olympics. When she overheard a coach remark that a girl with hearing loss could never make it to the US national competitions, she was determined to show she could do that and so much more. She competed in the 2015, 2016 and 2017 USFSA National Solo Dance Series Championships and in 2017, placed fourth in the country. Now a college sophomore, Lauren continues to succeed on the ice and in the classroom. A dedicated volunteer for the Hearing Loss Association of America and a mentor for incoming students at her college, she works hard to ensure that others can succeed as well!

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