From looking at the title to this post, you may well expect this story to be an unremarkable one; a story that you could simply gloss over. I can assure you that it isn’t. This one is well worth reading.
To accurately describe this story, there’s really only one word I could use: heartwarming.
A few days ago one of our students was featured in the NY Times. The article, written by Julie Turkewitz, spoke of Vladimir Gongora.
Vladimir, 17, grew up in Cuyantepeque, El Salvador. Without a health center, without road access for cars, and without the support of a deaf community or specialist schooling, Vladimir only communicated with his two sisters and his grandparents using hand signals they had invented.
Through the (very) hard work of his father, Jose Gongora, who left for the United States in 1997, Vladimir was able to move into the family’s apartment in Flushing, Queens, in May.
Since October, Vladimir has been attending Lexington School for the Deaf. Here he is learning American Sign Language. He has begun to read and write and he has made other hearing-impaired friends. We even managed to lend Vladimir a hearing aid after a test discovered that he had 30 percent hearing in one ear!
Unfortunately, this was not a hearing aid that Vladimir could keep.
Julie Turkewitz’s article spoke of Mr. Gongora’s desire to buy Vladimir a hearing aid of his very own. It also spoke of his family’s financial situation. Mr Gongora had no idea when (or how) he would be able to raise the $1,500 needed for the purchase.
Turkewitz’s article continues: “For now, that goal is out of reach…”
Unbeknownst to Ms. Turkewitz, “for now” wouldn’t be lasting for very long.
On the day that this article was published, Lexington School and Center for the Deaf’s Development Office was inundated with messages of support for Vladimir Gongora. We were also inundated with donations! Within just a few short hours, we received enough donations to get Vladimir his own hearing aid!
We were, and are, amazed and humbled by the generosity shown by the NY Times readers towards the Gongora family. In fact, we were so inspired that we started a fund specifically designed to help children in the same position as Vladimir afford hearing aids.
We’ve written this brief post to share this amazing turn of events and to express, once again, our deepest thanks to journalist Julie Turkewitz and the NY Times for sharing Vladimir’s incredible story.