Thank You for the Inspiration and Good Times of 2015

 Speaking from the Volta Bureau Autumn banner

Emilio Alonso-Mendoza summerDear Alexander Graham Bell Community,

From my office in Washington, D.C., I had the honor this year of working with so many kind and generous people - board members, professionals, staff and families - to develop programs that will stand the test of time. For example, not only did we partner with the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management on the Oberkotter Foundation's Hearing First website, we also opened wide the doors of the Volta Bureau to celebrate the great achievements of Dr. Alexander Graham Bell and the association on the occasion of our 125th Anniversary. Collaboration and goodwill paved the path of AG Bell's accomplishments in 2015, and aligned the direction of AG Bell with what is most needed for families of children with hearing loss.

In 2015 we added to our dedicated Board of Directors four outstanding people. The diverse experiences of Bob Bush, Ivette Cejas, Howard Francis and Sara Grosvenor are welcome additions to this organization. They will help support AG Bell's global reach, and continue to advocate for services for children and adults with hearing loss.

In support of AG Bell's year-end appeal, Bob generously offered up the story of his family's journey with hearing loss as his son, Bob, learned to listen and talk. We are so grateful to him for letting us include his story so that other families know they are not alone and that with support and early intervention, children who are deaf can achieve academic and personal success.

This year also strengthened AG Bell's relationships through collaborations with international organizations. These connections include Percival Denham at Instituto Oral Modelo in Argentina, Svante Borjesson from CLAVE in Spain, and Jin-Sook Kim at Hallym University in South Korea. My travels in 2015 took me to programs in Canada, Peru and the United Kingdom, and I'm very excited about what the future holds for professionals who are advancing listening and spoken language around the world.

In the AG Bell development office, we are grateful to Georgetown University for the contribution of time and energy from work-study students who worked with us this semester. The interns helped in many projects including the scholarship program, the financial aid program, support of the Academy and the year-end appeal. Please help me in thanking Matthew Raab, Nina Young and Angely Prieto for their dedication. I want them to know that everyone at AG Bell appreciates how they embraced learning about the needs of children with hearing loss, and that we wish them joyful holidays and great opportunities in 2016.

I would also like to thank Patrick Marsh, a high school junior from the Howard Gardner School in nearby Alexandria, Virginia. Patrick, who has hearing loss, took advantage of his time at AG Bell to learn more about how the organization and the people we serve advance listening and spoken language, and to share what he learned with students at his school. It was a joy to watch Patrick's progress and to learn from him some of the needs of students with hearing loss.

2015 Staff Holiday Image
From left to right: Sue Schmidberger, Maria Sigillito, Daniel Ors, Lisa Chutjian, Emilio Alonso-Mendoza, Judy Klein, Robin Bailey, Susan Boswell, Anna Karkovska,
Alexsandra Mubarak, Trenita Dickey, Gary Yates, Paul Monarch and Gayla Guignard.

As we wind up the year I'd like to wish each member of the AG Bell staff joyful holidays, and to celebrate their hard work in 2015. The Volta Bureau will be closed from December 23 through January 3, but staff will work from home to respond to your voice mails and email messages. I look forward to working with them on the adventures that will greet us when we return in 2016.

With Warmest Wishes for the Holiday Season and into the New Year,


Emilio Alonso-Mendoza
[email protected]


Here's to the bright New Year, and a fond farewell to the old; here's to the things that are yet to come, and to the memories that we hold.
- Unknown