LIMA — The Lima Noon Sertoma Club sponsored a special picnic Tuesday to honor and celebrate those children who attended its summer program this summer.
The picnic, held at Faurot Park, was used to congratulate children who attended the Club’s Summer Speech and Hearing programs. The program lasts about six weeks, and children meet with speech therapists two times a week.
The Sertoma Club donated $18,000 this year from funds raised on Pancake Day in order to provide the funds for the program.
“We have funded this program for over 30 years and are proud to be a part of such a great atmosphere and program for young children,” said Erin Hardesty, board chairman for the Lima Sertoma Club. “This is a program that provides a great need to the children of our community to expand their speech and hearing efforts throughout the entire year without taking any time off in the summer.”
Maintaining a consistent presence with a child who has a hearing or speech problem is necessary to the child’s growth and eventual ability to overcome obstacles he or she faces on a daily basis. Along with that, children are given therapy based on their individual needs but are able to alleviate the awkwardness of doing things alone by being paired with other children in therapy lessons.
Cinda Rismiller, who is a retired speech therapist but worked with the program for 28 years, said she enjoys working with children every year and seeing the progress and accomplishments they achieve.
“I am always excited to be a part of the speech and hearing program and know this is key to the progression of children with these impairments,” Rismiller said. “It is amazing to see the children improve on a weekly basis while not losing any skills that participating in the summer provides.”
Not only is the program hands-on between therapists and children for the six-week session, but parents are also encouraged to remain close by as to be able to speak with their child’s therapist after they have completed the day. Sawmiller sees this concept as a great way to create an even greater bond between child and parent.
“After every session is completed, we sit and chat with the children’s parents to gauge where they are at needs-wise,” Sawmiller said. “When children are at school, parents struggle to communicate daily with teachers but we provide them with all the input from all of our sessions.”
In turn, the focus of the program has been and always will be about the progression of the children as they continue to grow into adults. Sally Morey, whose 4-year-old son, Jaxson, attended the session for the first time this year, said she believes the program offers a unique experience for her child.
“This is a great summer program for all children with speech or hearing troubles and my son will be in the program for as long as he can,” Morey said. “They allow children to participate at no cost, they have great interaction with all the children and I couldn’t ask for anything more.”