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June 10, 2011     Post-Gazette
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June 10, 2011

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"Page 6 "' POsT-GAzE'IIE;JIJNE 10, 2011 HOUSE BILL 52 "An Act to Provide Access to Hearing Aids for Children MassHAFCC children on State House steps (Rally) Left to Right: Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, Maria Gioconda Motta (grandmother), Michelle Motta Dardeno (mother), Joe Motta (grandfather) and Dardeno children. On May 17, 201 I, the rain held off long enough for the children, families and sup- porters of House Bill 52 "An Act to Provide Access to Hearing Aids for Children" to hold an old-fashioned rally on the step of the Massachu- setts State House in celebra- tion of Governor Patrick's designation of "Massachu- setts Hearing Loss Aware- ness Day". Hearing loss is one of the most common birth defects in the U.S., occurring in 3 of every 1,000 births. Of the appropriate 80,000 live births in Massachusetts every year, an average of 200-250 chil- dren are identified with hearing loss at birth requir- ing the use of hearing aids/ cochlear implants. Most of these children are identified through the mandated Mas- sachusetts Newborn Hear- ing Screening -- one o'f the nation's leading programs to identify hearing loss at birth. Following identification, families/caretakers not only need to come to terms with the lifetime emotional, physical, social and educa- tional impact of the disabil- ity to their child but also how to finance the medical devices that will help their children learn to read, write, speak and develop along with their hearing peers. A pair of hearing aids can average $4000-6000 and does not include costs for hearing aids molds (which need to be remade every 3-6 months in children), batteries, clean- ing products and other asso- ciated regular expenses. Hearing aids need to be re- placed every 3-5 years. Par- ents of the vision-impaired or physical disabled are not burdened with how to fi- nance medically necessary devices for their children -- why is it still the case for the hearing-impaired? Michelle Motta Dardeno, whose 3 children were all di- agnosed with hearing loss long after infancy (at ages 2.5, 4, 5), didn't think it was right. So in 2009 (same year of diagnosis), she and a group of 4 other mothers of young hearing-impaired children from across the Commonwealth formed the Massachusetts Hearing Aids for Children Coalition (MassHAFCC) the mission of which is to work with fami- lies and professionals to maximize a hearing-impaired child's lifetime potential through educational, medical, social and emotional support. The coalition teamed up with Representative Sean Garballey (Arlington/Med- ford) who sponsored House Bill 52 which is co-sponsored by 71 legislators in both the House_and Senate with bi- partisan support. The bill aims to provide insurance coverage for hearing aids for children 21 years old and under, up to $2,000 per aid every 36 months. This bill would serve to significantly lessen the financial burden for the families and care- givers. To date, 17 states across the nation have al- ready "passed similar legis- lation. The estimated fiscal impact to health care premi- ums is a negligible amount projected over 5 years, a mere 0.03% increase. On May 17, the group organized a rally with turn out of over 200 supporters including children, families and professionals who work with the hearing-impaired.. The group moved inside to the House Members lounge where Representative Gar- bailey hosted a reception for the MassHAFCC families and supporters which was attended by numerous legis- lators including Senator Sal DiDomenieo, a co-sponsor of House Bill 52. Following the reception, supporters of House Bill 52 gathered before the Joint Committee of Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities for pubic testi- mony. The room was filled to capacity with nervous ex- citement. One by one: chil- dren and families, audiolo- gists and teachers of the deaf, leading medical and social professionals all im- plored the members to move the proposed legislation out of committee and to support the passing of the bill in its entirety. Each speaker was more compelling than the last. Michelle was able to share the story of her fam- ily and each of her three children shared their per- sonal experiences with hearing aids with members of the committee. Later that afternoon, Michelle and her children were invited to the office of Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo. Speaker DeLeo took the time to learn about the prevalence, etiology and im- pact of the pediatric hearing loss to families. Ronald (7), Elisabeth (6) and Alessandra (4.5) "showed-ofF' their brightly colored hearing aids/ molds and explained how the aids helped them to hear at home, at school and at play. The visit culminated with a visit to the House Chamber accompanied by the Speaker himself. Saint Barnabas by Bennett Molinari and Richard Molinari Saint Barnabas was a Levite, born of Jewish parents on the Island of Cyprus. Though not one of the Twelve, Saint Barnabas like Saint Paul, is ranked an Apostle by the Church. His success in preaching prompted the Apostles to change his name from Joseph to that of Barnabas, which means, son of exhortation or consolation. Barnabas " settled in Jerusalem where he owned land, and where his rela- tives, the family of Mark the Evangelist, also had their homes. It is believed that he was converted to Christian- ity shortly after Pentecost (about A.D. 29 or 30) and im- mediately sold his property and gave the proceeds to the Church. When Saul later Paul the Apostle, made his first visit to Jerusalem, somewhere between 33 to 38 A.D., after his conversion, he was re- membered as being a perse- cutor, it was Barnabas who sponsored him and had him received by the Apostles. Paul then Saul returned to his home in Tarsus where he lived an obscure life for some years. Barnabas and Paul were once more brought together as a result of the success some of the Disciples had in converting, the Greeks of Antioch. After hearing of their success, the Apostles sent Barnabas to investigate their work. Barnabas, though a Jew, heartily welcomed the Gentile converts. Recogniz- ing the immense possibili- ties, he thought of Paul who had impressed him years earlier. He went to Tarsus and persuaded him to go to Antioch and begin preach- ing. This opened the door to their life work for both men, to preach to the gentiles for their conversion to the Christian Church. Together they labored in Antioch teaching and preaching among the Gentiles. After laboring a year at Antioch, the two Apostles brought the offerings of the Disciples of the community to the poor of the Jerusalem commu- nity that had been afflicted by famine. Barnabas and Paul returned to Antioch ' taking with them John Mark, cousin of Barnabas and fu- ture Evangelist. The time was now ripe, for the Church of Antioch to send out mis- sionaries to the Gentile world; Barnabas and Paul were designated for the work. They departed, with John Mark as helper, preachiiig the Faith in Cyprus and Asia Minor. John Mark left the mission at Perge in Pamphylia for some un- known reason. Despite oppo- sition "and persecution, Paul and Barnabas made many converts on this journey, they established churches, and ordained presbyters plac- ing them over the faithful, confirming their belief that God had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles Barnabas and Paul, known as the Apostles of the Gen- tiles, attended the Council of Jerusalem that took place about 47 A.D which endorsed and commended them for their work. On their return to Antioch, they resumed their preaching, for a short time. St. Peter came down and associated freely there with the Gentiles. Barnabas and Paul decided to revisit their missions; Barnabas sailed with John Mark to Cyprus, while Paul took Silas and revisited the churches of Asia Minor. Little is known of the subsequent ca- reer of Barnabas. He was still living and laboring as an Apostle in 56 or 57, when Paul wrote First Corinthians. With the exception of St. Paul and certain of the Apostles, Barnabas appears to have been the most esteemed man of the first Christian generation. St. Luke speaks of him with affection, "for he was a good man, full of the Holy Ghost and of Faith". A tradition relates that he died at Salamis in Cyprus after being stoned. The feast of St. Barnabas is celebrated on June 1 i. A Tribute to Francena's Sicilian Heritage and Her Beloved Nonna. Now expanded and enhanced in its 1 lth printing with 10,000 copies sold. $12. 95 - pay no shipping and postage A must for your collection. ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY!! 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