Fall Mini-Grant Winner & Spring Applications Now Open

Our Spring mini grants are now open! Applications are due May 10, 2024. Click here to apply.

Congratulations to one of our fall mini-grant winners, Andrea Wiersma, teacher at Holland Public Schools. Andrea used her $250 mini grant to help fund a college visit to Gallaudet University for her class! Students were able to tour the campus, meet with admissions counselors, attend a softball game, sit in on a Deaf studies class, eat and socialize in the cafeteria, and most importantly, experience the heart of Deaf culture and Deaf community. In addition, the Deaf students visited the Signing Starbucks and the Deaf-owned Mozzeria pizza restaurant where they faced no language barriers when ordering and had wonderfully genuine experiences!  Lastly, the students were able to learn and experience America’s history through a tour of the Capitol Building, and a visit to the African American Museum, Holocaust Museum, White House, The Mall and all of its monuments, National Cathedral to Helen Keller’s burial site and the Arlington National Cemetery.


Quota Club is proud to support teachers like Andrea with our biannual mini grants.

A Note from Andrea


Thank you again for your gift towards our trip. Words can’t begin to describe the impact it made in these students’ lives.  Thank you!!!


The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program at Holland Public Schools went on a college visit to the only Deaf and Hard of Hearing liberal arts college in the world, Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. There they were able to tour the campus, meet with admissions counselors, see a softball game, sit in on a Deaf studies class, eat and socialize in the cafeteria, and most importantly, experience the heart of Deaf culture and Deaf community. In addition, the Deaf students visited the Signing Starbucks and the Deaf-owned Mozzeria pizza restaurant where they faced no language barriers when ordering and had wonderfully genuine experiences!  Lastly, the students were able to learn and experience America’s history through a tour of the Capitol Building, and a visit to the African American Museum, Holocaust Museum, White House, The Mall and all of its monuments, National Cathedral to Helen Keller’s burial site and the Arlington National Cemetery.



A note from Jennifer


The funds, so graciously provided by your group, helps to support a group of 15-20 middle schoolers who advocated learning more ASL through an after-school enrichment program.  These future Deaf Education teachers, interpreters, and/or medical health professionals are engaging in an hour-long class on Mondays after school taught by one of our Deaf graduates.  Nadia is a very relatable young lady who shares and encourages conversational signing and Deaf community understanding by designing engaging activities and lessons for these Paw Paw Community Middle Schoolers.  In May this group is invited to attend a county-wide community-based instruction event and put to use their newly acquired skills with our Deaf/Hard of Hearing and Visually Impaired student group in which they will work on advocacy and access skills through structured activities at a local establishment. It is easy to spot the students participating in this group in the hallways between classes as their hands are always moving and applying what they have learned to their daily routines. This is the second year of this successful after-school program and students who participated in the previous year are trying to design and start up a version of it at the high school.  Thank you to the members of the Quota Club for encouraging the next generation!


Jennifer Padgett



A note from Jennie


I received a grant from Quota Club GR and was able to purchase a light table for my preschool classroom. A light table illuminates objects to encourage students fine motor development, hand-eye coordination, color recognition, cognitive and visual and much more. The Quota Club Grand Rapids mission is to support education, access, and social connections for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing in West Michigan. Their donation to our classroom has been met with excitement by our youngest classroom students. We are thankful that Quota Club GR supports and partners with our KentISD Oral Deaf Program.


Jennie Carlson



Fall 2023 Mini-Grant Winners


CONGRATULATIONS to our most recent Mini-Grant winners!

Quota Club of Grand Rapids is proud to support teachers of children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing by offering $250 mini-grants twice a year. Here are the amazing educators we supported this fall!

  • Andrea Wiersma-Magsig, Holland Public Schools
  • Jennie Carlson, Kent ISD
  • Jennifer Padgett, VanBuren ISD

Watch for photos and descriptions of our fall mini-grant winners soon!

Quota GR – 50/50 Raffle – Winner 2023

50-50 winner 2023On May 24th, QuotaGR held a 50/50 raffle drawing.  The event was held at the Michigan Moonshine Distillery in Grandville.  100% of the financial support went to help QuotaGR support the deaf & hard of hearing individuals in our community.


This year, Chase Griffin won the $1,095 cash prize from the 50/50 Raffle.  Chase is a talented saxophonist who just graduated from Western University in Ontario with a Master’s Degree in Music.  Winning this raffle was a perfect time for Chase as he was searching for a job and had student loans to pay off.  It was a real plus to have the winner present at the drawing so we all could enjoy the good news together!


Pictured, left to right: Pam Howland  (Quota VP), Sandi Aten (Quota Secretary), Chase Griffin (raffle winner), Barbara Griffin (Quota President), Sue Scharf (Quota Service Committee chair)

Teacher Mini-Grant Recipients

Kelly Cleveland

I received a mini-grant from Quota Club GR and was able to purchase books for my littlest learners who are enrolled in the Kent ISD Oral Deaf Program. Why books? Why did I apply for a grant to purchase books that could be given to our newly enrolled families?


Research has shown that shared reading with younger children can predict later receptive language development and reading comprehension. It affects a child’s internal motivation to read in the elementary years. Studies have also shown that parent-child reading interactions prove that the language used by parents during these interactions has a greater variety of vocabulary as well as higher syntactic language structures commonly used in everyday conversations. ( Ece Demir-Lira Ö, Applebaum LR, Goldin-Meadow S, Levine SC. Parents’ early book reading to children: relation to children’s later language and literacy outcomes controlling for other parent language input. Dev Sci. (2019) 22:e12764. 10.1111/desc.12764).


The two books that were selected to be purchased with the grant money are significant to helping children who have hearing loss develop various speech sounds. These books were written by Stephanie Cohen, M.A., CCC-SLP, CLC whose mission “is to empower each parent to be their child’s best teacher by supporting emotional connection and early language learning.”.


The sounds used in each book represent the Learning to Listen Sounds that we often use as beginning sounds for little learners. These are the sounds that are often easily detected by young children with hearing loss when they are wearing their hearing aids or cochlear implants. The Learning to Listen Sounds are fun sounds to hear and make and they help develop listening, speech, and language milestones.


My First Learn-to-Talk Book and My First Learn-to-Talk Book Things That Go, will be used by parents and caregivers to help facilitate the bond between parent/caregiver and child, and will be some of the first sounds my little learners use. With grant money received from Quota Club Grand Rapids, I know that I am able to give each new family quality books to begin their listening and spoken language journey all while utilizing shared reading to develop social interactions that will lead to bonding and strong relationships between parent/caregiver and child.


Thank you Quota Club Grand Rapids for helping me foster the love of shared reading to the families of our littlest learners enrolled in the Kent ISD Oral Deaf Program.

Teresa Suwyn

Thank you so much for the $250 grant for video equipment! I appreciate the opportunity to record more videos for parents to learn sign language along with their students and for me to get more language samples from students to document their growth. With your grant money, I was able to purchase the camera and stand. I was also able to get a backdrop to reduce background distractions when recording.


Since purchasing these items, I was able to make 2 videos for families to learn vocabulary. I was also able to record interviews of students to use as a language sample. I am excited to have the equipment ready to start the 2023-2024 school year so that I can have a beginning, middle, and end-of-the-year sample.


Many types of assessments are based on hearing standards and phonics. I am excited to use this equipment in the future to try making my own assessments for students. I would like to combine my knowledge of Google Forms, Sites and Book Creator to make more assessments and resources for students and parents.


Thank you for your investment in my classroom, parents and students. I am grateful for the opportunity to help others in their journey of learning sign language and assessing the amount that students know.


Heather Braspenninx

I would like to graciously thank you for the Mini-Grant I received in March 2023. As a Teacher Consultant for the Kent ISD Oral Deaf Program, I work with students ranging from 3 years of age through grade 12+. In order to meet all of their individual needs and goals, I often need to find resources that can be used with multiple students. This is where books often come into play for me! By choosing the books based on language, I can meet the goals of multiple students. Building a “classroom” library is costly, and this grant has allowed me to add books focusing on inference, negation, and verbs.


Thank you again for your support as I continue to educate and support students in the Kent ISD Oral Deaf Program!


Cheryl Marks

On May 4th, 2023 Deaf/hard of hearing students from Mattawan attended our annual woodworking field trip. We have, over the past 3 years, built a relationship with our local Deaf mentor, Dom Bearwood of Bearwood Reclaimed. Dom is a local carpenter and has a passion for sharing his skills and giving back to the Deaf community. Dom has provided opportunities for our students to learn about woodworking, using the tools of the carpentry trade, owning a business, and navigating the hearing world as a Deaf adult. This event is something that students look forward to every spring and for the last two years, we’ve gotten the opportunity to travel to Dell Darnell’s workshop The Dapper Hammer.


We began the day talking about our theme of “May the 4th be with you” to celebrate Star Wars Day. Students shared ideas about what type of wooden sculpture they wanted to build. They were able to pick out their own materials, measure, mark, and cut the wooden pieces to fit their design. It was great to see the students making creative decisions and seeing the results take form right before their eyes. There were conversations about construction techniques, wood types, tool use, and paint choices. It was amazing to see the ease at which students were able to communicate using their native language of American Sign Language with all the participants. By the end of the day, students had created works of art they were eager to show off to the group and later to their parents.


This event is a great opportunity for students who wouldn’t normally have access to these experiences within their community. Having a role model is key to developing self-determination skills. The skill of relatedness allows students the opportunity to belong to a group of people that share the same life experiences. My job over the years has been to seek out opportunities and connect with neighboring programs and community members. By developing connections and gaining financial support within the community, I can set my own goals for learning.


This grant provided by the Quota Club of Grand Rapids has allowed me to continue to make connections within our region of southwest Michigan and build a network to foster language and learning. I appreciate the generosity of the members in providing this opportunity for Deaf/hard of hearing learners to expand their potential.


Capital Campaign

Quota Check

Quota Club of Grand Rapids has been serving the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community in Western Michigan for over 75 years!

In the past few years, we have donated over $62,000  for scholarships, hearing loops for Spectrum Theater and Mary Free Bed YMCA, interpreters,  various activities for the Deaf community, and mini-grants for schools.

You can help by making a donation here.

The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited

Quota Club recently partnered with Deaf & Hard of Hearing Services to sponsor a free night at the Grand Rapids Art Museum for children and their families! On January 11, 2023, children and their families explored the exhibition learning about Jim Henson, his beloved Sesame Street muppets, and the movies he helped create. Families also participated in an art workshop to create their own finger puppets! It was a blast! Thanks to D&HHS for helping us bring this special night to life!

Quota Club members welcomed children and families to a special night at the Grand Rapids Art Museum!  Families use materials supplied by the museum to make their own finger puppets to take home. The Jim Henson exhibition included interactive stations for children to create a muppet, then view it on a monitor as it would look on TV. Families explored the exhibit visiting their favorite muppets like Kermit the Frog!

Teacher Mini-Grant Opportunity

Quota Club of Grand Rapids is pleased to announce a Teacher Mini-Grant opportunity! Funds are available for any teacher (or teacher consultant) whose primary role is teaching students who are deaf or hard of hearing. If you have a project or idea to support your student’s education, access, or social connections, we want to help you achieve your vision! Applications are due February 15th. See the application for details. All funds will be disbursed by March 15th. Don’t miss out, apply today!

Snow White, The Queen’s Fair Daughter

Snow WhiteIn June, 2018, Quota donated a hearing loop system to Spectrum Theatre at Grand Rapids Community College.  Thanks to the generosity of Lifetime Quotarian Eleanor Roberts, the system provides hearing assistance to hearing aid users attending live performances.

Snow White and company premiered the Loop with a performance of “Snow White, The Queen’s Fair Daughter.  Our partners, GRCC and Circle Theatre, collaborated in presenting this magical evening for the community, especially our Deaf and hard of hearing friends.

Snow White Event

“Again, you have hit it out of the park!  From my heart, the agency and the Deaf and hard of hearing community please be secure in the fact you did indeed make a difference! This community who does not frequent events such as this because of many reasons was thoroughly elated that the actors/actresses actually came out to be with them!”  – Deb Atwood, D & HHS Executive Director