Aviators support local school for hearing impaired

This article has photo gallery Published on Ms Dallas McMaugh (author), Unknown (photographer)

Location(s): Wollongong, New South Wales

Topic(s): 725 Squadron, Charities and Fundraising

Commander Royals presented the Centre with a cheque for $1,200. (photo: Unknown)
Commander Royals presented the Centre with a cheque for $1,200.

Naval aviators on the south coast of New South Wales have donated time and funds to a local Shoalhaven charity with personal links to their own squadron.

Romeo Seahawk personnel from 725 Squadron adopted the Shepherd Centre which helps children who have a hearing impairment. The hearing impairment can cover everything from partial loss through to complete deafness.

Commanding Officer, Commander Matt Royals said the connection between the school and his team was borne out of personal experience.

“We first became aware of the work of the Shepherd Centre when one of our team mentioned that his daughter, who was born profoundly deaf, had moved on from the Shepherd Centre and was now attending a mainstream school," he said.

The Centre recently invited members from the squadron to to the graduation ceremony for seven children who were leaving the Shepherd Centre program for mainstream schooling.

Commander Royals said the team were privileged to attend and be part of such an important celebration.

“We looked at the Centre’s programs which are designed to ensure children with hearing loss have all the skills they need to enter school as confident, capable students," he said.

“To be able to assist them in that work, in whatever way we can is something that excites us."

While attending the graduation Commander Royals took the opportunity to present the Centre with a cheque for $1,200 the squadron had raised.

“We’re extremely proud to be associated with the Shepherd Centre and looking forward to future engagements with their incredible team of dedicated staff, the children and their families.

“This was our first year of working with them, but we have big plans for 2017 and have set our fundraising goal at $10,000,” Commander Royals said.

The Centre's objectives are to develop children's speech, language and listening skills, with the ultimate aim of integration into mainstream education.

Their intervention and support programs work with the children and their families with specialist support, therapists and cochlear implant surgeons to achieve the best possible outcomes for children suffering hearing loss.

Each of the four squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm has an adopted charity with personnel offering their support throughout the year from organising working bees, to hosting outings, to fund raising activities.