Faces of Providence 2016

In 2015, we celebrated 50 years of service in Orange County. This page seeks to recognize and honor some of those who have helped us reach this milestone anniversary.


Providence Patient, Cindy

For more than a year and a half now, Cindy has been part of Providence's cochlear implant program. She was one of the first patients with profound hearing loss to be evaluated for cochlear implant candidacy at our Orange County Cochlear Implant Institute™. Medically and with her very strong family support, she was an ideal candidate for this life-altering technology...but her "old" age, then 7, proved to be a hurdle. You see, most children with profound hearing loss are identified as such and undergo cochlear implant surgery at a much younger age so that they gain more communication skills earlier, giving them a strong foundation for lifelong success. That was not the case for Cindy, but that did not deter her, her family, or Providence's cochlear implant team--in fact, Cindy's fight was one we all wanted to win. Since her evaluation last year, Cindy has continued in weekly speech-language therapy at Providence and made significant gains. She is driven, she wants to communicate, and she works hard to develop her language skills. Her hard work has paid off! Thanks to unwavering determination from so many people involved, Cindy has now been approved for cochlear implant surgery--which will take place this week! Grab some tissues, and click here to see the incredible moment we delivered that good news to Cindy and her family. You may not think of yourself as a HEARo, but we certainly do! This moment would not have been possible without YOUR support of our cochlear implant program. There are more children like Cindy waiting for their good news, and we will keep fighting for them. Please click here to continue your HEARoics and commitment to Enriching Life Through the Gifts of Speech and Hearing--for ALL those who need us.

Providence's Beyond Sound Stars Program

One of Providence's most enduring partnerships is with CHOC Children's; we have worked together in several capacities since Providence's founding in 1965. One of our most successful collaborations with CHOC is our Cleft and Craniofacial Program in which we provide speech-language therapy and audiological services to children born with craniofacial disorders. Without this collaborative partnership, many of these children would struggle to communicate verbally. Providence's expert speech-language pathologists, like Amy, work with medical teams to assess and monitor each child's development and to improve their overall speech intelligibility. The Beyond Sound Stars program at Providence is an intensive speech and language-rich environment designed to further communication skills for children 3-6 years of age with craniofacial disorders, such as cleft palate and cleft lip. Craniofacial disorders are surgically corrected and often require a series of surgeries. Each time a child goes through surgery, he or she has to re-learn proper tongue placement for speech and swallowing. It can be a difficult process, but our speech-language pathology team always makes learning fun for these hard-working children. Take Sammy for example. In February 2013, Sammy was referred to Providence by the craniofacial team at CHOC. He was 17 months old and had a severe expressive language disorder, a vocabulary of only 3 words, severe articulation disorder, and significant hypernasal speech - all due to his medical diagnosis of unilateral cleft lip and palate. He started out in individual treatment once per week for 30 minutes. After more than two years, he transitioned to Beyond Sound Stars craniofacial group twice a week. Now five years old, Sammy has put in more than three years of hard work with Ms. Amy, and it shows! He graduated from speech therapy in May 2016 and now demonstrates age-appropriate expressive language, articulation skills and oral resonance. He is happy, and we are enormously proud of his progress! Due to this program's effectiveness and success rate, Beyond Sound Stars group speech therapy is being used as a model for other speech-language centers trying to develop similar programs of their own throughout the country. We are honored to be considered the Center of Excellence for children with craniofacial disorders who need speech-language services. As the only safety net clinic of its type in Orange County and the only agency of its kind willing to accept patients with Medi-Cal and other government-sponsored insurance, Providence remains committed to continuing to provide services for all those who need us. Click here to help support our commitment.

Providence Staff, Dr. Chris Townsley

As we move into the fall season, we'd like to remind you that leaves are supposed to fall--people aren't. September is Fall Prevention and Balance Awareness month. If you've been dealing with dizziness and feeling unsteady, it's time we introduce you to Dr. Chris Townsley and his team of specially-trained audiologists at Providence's Orange County Fall Prevention and Balance Center. Did you know that falls are the leading cause of injury and accidental death for people over the age of 65? At the Orange County Fall Prevention and Balance Center, Dr. Townsley and his team run a battery of tests to examine a patient's vestibular system--the sensory mechanism in the inner ear that detects movement of the head and helps to control balance. They look at the communication channels between the ears, eyes and brain to pinpoint the exact cause of dizziness for each patient. Dr. Townsley has two decades of experience helping adults improve their hearing and maintain their independence and ability to stay active--and our patients simply LOVE him! When asked why he does what he does, he said, "Every day, I get to help my patients improve their quality of life. And at Providence, the work is so rewarding. When we make services and hearing aids affordable for low-income patients, it feeds my soul." Providence relies on community support to help subsidize the cost of services for low-income patients who have nowhere else to turn. We strive to fulfill our mission of Enriching Life Through the Gifts of Speech and Hearing for ALL those in need. We invite you to join us in that mission--no one should be denied the ability to communicate and maintain their independence due to a lack of financial resources. Please make your tax-deductible gift today to help provide vestibular evaluations for local seniors in need!

Providence Patient for over 12 Years, Sarah

For many of us, the month of August brings to mind the exciting transition between summer and back-to-school. For some, back-to-school means off to college. For students who wear hearing aids, preparing for school means getting a regular hearing check to make sure they're getting the most out of their hearing aids. That's exactly what Sarah did as she prepares to leave for college this month. Sarah, now 19 years old, has been coming to Providence Speech and Hearing Center since she was seven. She was first fit with hearing aids when she was about age four and lived with her family in Guam. When they relocated to California, they were referred to Providence and met Dr. Kim Cira. That's when a very special bond between the two began to blossom. Sarah says she "can't remember life without hearing aids" or before meeting Dr. Cira. The family currently lives in Utah, but travels back to California for any necessary hearing appointments—only with Dr. Cira. Sarah is smart and kind-hearted and has a beautiful outlook about her hearing loss. She said, "Being hard of hearing is said to be a disability. It's not. It's just something...you just have—like people have glasses, and they're not disabled for that. I'm hard of hearing. That doesn't mean I'm deaf, and it doesn't mean I'm broken. It means I'm special." Sarah plans to become a mainstream teacher for disabled students because, as she said, "I get what they're going through." With that outlook, she is going to make one incredible educator for any "special" children who are lucky enough to be taught by her! Without support from our community, Providence would be unable to fulfill our mission of Enriching Life Through the Gifts of Speech and Hearing. We invite you to join us in that mission—no one should be denied the ability to communicate due to a lack of financial resources. Please consider making a tax-deductible gift today to help give the gift of hearing to a local student in need!

Providence Patient, Antonio

Antonio had seen advertising for Providence Speech and Hearing Center for several years, but fearing he couldn't afford hearing aids, he would ignore it, just as he was ignoring his deteriorating hearing. He found himself always asking people to repeat themselves and asking his wife to tell him what was just said on TV. He started to feel depressed because of the isolation his hearing loss was causing. He felt his memory loss was becoming more severe, and said he believed people thought he was ignorant because he could not participate in conversations. He became much less active, staying indoors and keeping to himself. His doctor put him on an oxygen machine and prescribed several medications for his declining health. After some encouragement from family members, Antonio finally worked up the nerve to tell his physician that he was concerned about his hearing, and his physician referred him to Providence. At the age of 82, Antonio was diagnosed with mild sloping to severe hearing loss in both ears and, with help from donors, fitted with high-quality hearing aids. His life changed. At a follow-up appointment, he was in tears and bragging about how his hearing aids had given him a second chance at life. He was getting out, experiencing and enjoying life again, which made him much less dependent on his oxygen machine and other medications. July is Senior Independence Month at Providence. Our goals for this initiative are to raise awareness about the risks associated with untreated hearing loss and to ensure that all seniors--regardless of their financial resources--have access to quality hearing services and hearing aids. Most hearing loss is treatable, and treatment options are available. As evidenced by Antonio's story, hearing loss in seniors impacts communication and functional ability, and is strongly associated with decreased quality of life, cognitive decline, increased risk of falls, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and depression. Older people who cannot hear well often begin to withdraw from others to avoid feeling frustrated or embarrassed about not understanding what is being said. Sometimes older adults are mistakenly thought to be confused, unresponsive, or uncooperative, simply because they don't hear well. Providence strives to provide access for ALL seniors so that they can maintain their independence and an active lifestyle. Without support from our community, Providence would be unable to fulfill our mission of Enriching Life Through the Gifts of Speech and Hearing. We invite you to join us in that mission--no one should be denied the ability to communicate due to a lack of financial resources. Please consider making a tax-deductible gift today to help give the gift of hearing to a local senior in need!

Providence Supporters, The Wensley Family

Nine years ago, Dave and Shari Wensley received the news that their newborn daughter, Ava, did not pass her hearing screening. As is standard protocol, she was referred to an audiologist for a more thorough hearing examination called an ABR (auditory brainstem response) test, which confirmed Ava's profound hearing loss. This experience, familiar to so many Providence parents, sent them on a difficult but determined mission: "Tiger Mom" Shari would fight until her daughter had the ability to hear. Today, Ava Wensley is a confident, active, outgoing, and intelligent nine-year-old. As her parents shared in their live testimonial at Providence's 32nd Annual Golf Classic, Ava's early diagnosis helped jumpstart her journey toward communication. Ava was a good candidate for cochlear implants in both ears and underwent surgery at the age of eleven months. Her activation and learning process were a stressful time for her family, but her success is a testament to their persistent efforts. As the Wensleys realized, the road to hearing is a complicated one; many families lack the resources to undertake a similar fight for their children. For those families, hope begins at Providence. At the Golf Classic on June 6, 2016, our golfers pledged nearly $70,000 toward the purchase of two new ABR units. Thanks to their contributions, Providence can continue to provide diagnostics testing for infants. The earlier we are able to diagnose and confirm hearing loss, the sooner we can begin intervention, and the better equipped we are to act as a partner in the journey to communication and life-long success. Without support from our community, Providence would be unable to fulfill our mission of Enriching Life Through the Gifts of Speech and Hearing. On behalf of children like Ava, we warmly invite you to join us in that mission--no one should be denied the ability to communicate due to a lack of financial resources. Even if you were unable to attend the Golf Classic, you can still make your tax-deductible gift today!

Providence Speech and Hearing Patient, Jazmine

Jazmine passed her newborn hearing screening, but by the age of two and a half, she was not communicating. She came to Providence and was diagnosed with profound hearing loss in both ears. Jazmine was fit with hearing aids in May 2015 and began the evaluation process to see if she might be a good candidate for cochlear implantation. At the time of her speech and language evaluation, she spoke no words, could not follow any commands, and was not responding to any sounds; she communicated primarily using gestures, facial expressions and limited vocalizations. In August 2015, Jazmine began individual speech therapy once a week for 60 minutes at Providence. With her thirst for language and exceptionally supportive family, combined with a strong adoration for her Speech-Language Pathologist, Jazmine has made significant gains in her language skills. In only nine months of therapy, she has made progress equal to what most children in similar circumstances make in 18 months' time! She eagerly comes to speech ready to learn and participate. Her family accompanies her - both parents along with several older brothers. All of them take part in therapy each week and help to reinforce Jazmine's new skills at home. Jazmine now uses at least 40 signs, turns her head toward some sounds, responds to her name, and is able to combine 2-3 signs into phrases. Her family reports that she will likely undergo bilateral cochlear implantation at UC Irvine in June. We are very excited to see her continued progress and just how far Jazmine will advance after her implant surgery further opens the world of sound for her! To support more children in our community who are in need of critical, ongoing speech-language and hearing therapy like Jazmine, please make your tax-deductible gift today. The lifelong investment you make in a child today is immeasurable!

Providence Board Member, Janine Madera

Janine Madera is a Senior Deputy District Attorney in the Gang Unit of the Orange County District Attorney's Office. She is a recent addition to the Providence Board of Directors and has a firsthand understanding of what our patients experience every day as she herself has a hearing impairment. Janine grew up in southern California and was diagnosed with mild hearing loss when she was a child. As her ability to hear continually declined, she wore hearing aids and learned to communicate by using sign language and reading lips. Although she is considered severely hard of hearing today, her hearing loss has never slowed her down. She graduated from high school, college and UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law with honors. After graduating from law school in 1999, she worked as a litigation associate with Latham & Watkins, LLP, the world's highest-grossing law firm, until 2004 when she joined the Orange County District Attorney's Office. Janine is married to her high school sweetheart; together, they have two daughters and three tortoises. She enjoys hiking, spending time with family, volunteering with the Girl Scouts, and inspiring future generations through delivering school presentations on the law and careers in law. She is also a member of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Bar Association. "We are very excited to welcome Janine to Providence. As a professional who truly understands our patients' needs and challenges, she brings a unique element to the Board," said Linda H. Smith, Providence CEO. Please join us in welcoming her!

Providence Friend, Mrs. Moriarty

A few years ago, Mrs. Moriarty came to Providence for a tour to learn more about our history, the services we provide and the people we care for. She was interested in our history and knew many of the names of our donors, those who have contributed to our community impact over the past 50 years. She learned about our full spectrum of services for children and adults and was fascinated by the Sound Stars group, a speech therapy class for children with craniofacial anomalies. She was familiar with the work that Doctors Beyond Borders does for such children abroad. By far, the most exciting part of the tour was the visit to the Providence Preschool playground where Mrs. Moriarty found mutual love at first sight! Amid the laughter, giggles and squeals of joy, Mrs. Moriarty witnessed developmentally delayed and behaviorally challenged children playing side by side with typically developing children. When they stopped playing long enough to gather in front of Mrs. Moriarty and perform a song while using sign language, she was simply delighted. Last year, when it was time for Mrs. Moriarty to have her hearing checked, Providence was the only place to go. She knew she would receive individualized care and, if she needed hearing aids, support in selecting the right ones for her from a wide range of technically-advanced options. Since that first visit, the love has grown. Mrs. Moriarty visits the Preschool every couple of months with special, hand-made treats for each child. One day, she brought home-made, gluten free cookies shaped and perfectly decorated like Mickey and Minnie Mouse, individually wrapped and tied with a bow. On her most recent visit for the Preschool's annual Easter egg hunt, Mrs. Moriarty delighted in watching the children find Easter eggs. Once the hunt was complete, she gave each child a goodie bag filled with springtime treats. The children love when Mrs. Moriarty visits. They tell her stories, show off the latest additions to their wardrobes, and give her hugs and high-fives. Something tell us she might get more out of these visits than she gives! To schedule your tour of Providence, call or email us today.

Providence Staff, Andrew

Providence proudly introduces Andrew Simone, our Chief Financial Officer. Andrew began his career in finance in Silicon Valley after graduating from Santa Clara University. He moved to Orange County in 2000 where he obtained his master's degree in management from Cal State Fullerton. Prior to joining the Providence team, Andrew has held Chief Financial Officer roles in healthcare companies specializing in sleep medicine and medical billing and has worked in finance for skilled nursing, assisted living and veterinary medicine businesses. He has 11 years' experience in finance and accounting senior management positions directing entire organizations. Andrew's focus is on increased financial performance, organizational efficiency, staff development, leadership, and creating a positive culture. He has experience working in family-owned, publicly-traded and private equity owned companies with annual revenue extending from $11 million to $1.3 billion, as well as serving on a non-profit board and fundraising. Andrew has a strong belief in our mission and is excited to bring his diverse skills to Providence where he feels he can make a difference. Andrew is married with three children and three dogs. We are very excited to have him join the Providence Speech and Hearing Center family!

Providence Patient, Julius

Meet Julius. Like the vast majority of infants born in Orange County, Julius was given a newborn hearing screening in the hospital shortly after he was born in April 2014. He passed. For the next several months, life was pretty normal. Then in February 2015, when Julius was about 10 months old, he contracted bacterial meningitis. A few months later, his parents had grown concerned that he was not responding to sounds or developing language like he should be. He came to Providence and underwent an auditory brainstem response (ABR) test to assess his auditory nerves and pathways. The evaluation showed that Julius has profound hearing loss in both ears. He was immediately referred to the Orange County Cochlear Implant Institute™ at Providence Speech and Hearing Center. It's the first and only all-encompassing, pediatric-focused cochlear implant program in the greater Orange County area where children with severe and profound hearing loss can find hope. Because his hearing loss was a result of an illness, the team wasted no time with Julius' thorough evaluation process and getting him started in speech therapy. He was a perfect candidate! On November 16, at the age of 19 months, Julius underwent surgery to receive a cochlear implant on his left side. The surgery went perfectly! After the surgical site had time to heal, his Providence audiologist, Dr. Laurie Satz, activated the cochlear implant on December 18. He still has a long way to go to develop communication like that of his normal-hearing peers, but he is off to a great start and in the right hands at Providence. To support more children in our community who are in need of a cochlear implant, please make your tax-deductible gift today. The lifelong investment you make in a child today is immeasurable!


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