Jennifer Glancy, director of children’s ministries at the United Methodist Church of Sun City Center, also served as one of Santa’s elves during a recent event when she came across a very special letter to Santa. In the letter, Audrey Brown, a vivacious 8-year-old who had struggled with wearing her hearing aids, wanted a hearing-aid jewelry-making kit. According to Audrey’s mother, Ashley Brown, she had received a hearing-aid bobble, and that gave Audrey the confidence she needed to feel comfortable in her hearing device.
“Audrey asked Santa for a kit of jewelry-making implements so that she could make charms to sell to raise money for children who need hearing aids and to give away in order to help other children feel confident and proud to wear their hearing devices,” said Glancy.
According to the Florida Association of the Deaf, census data says that Tampa Bay has the third-highest concentration of deaf or hearing-impaired residents in the United States.
Audrey has been hearing-impaired after her cancer treatment as an infant. As she grew older, she became self-conscious about her hearing aids. When she was given hearing-aid jewelry, it gave her the self-assurance she needed.
“I think the jewelry for hearing aids made me feel beautiful for the first time in a long time,” said Audrey. “I had always hidden my hearing aids and I was embarrassed because kids would make fun of me. With this, I feel all kids and adults can feel better about their hearing aids. They helped me gain my self-confidence back.”
Her request to Santa was for a kit to make similar jewelry so that other girls can feel pretty while wearing hearing aids.
“She wanted to make the first 50 pairs to donate to audiologist offices because others may not know what they are,” said Ashley. “After she donates her first 50 pairs, she hopes to sell the charms to raise money to help children and families afford hearing devices.”
Ashley bought Audrey her first pair of hearing-aid jewelry on Christmas Day in 2020.
“I had taken them off and put them in my backpack for my class with the audiologist that worked with my school,” said Audrey. “When I went to get them out, they were gone. It made me really sad. I felt embarrassed again with my hearing aids. I do not want anyone, boy, girl, man or woman, ever feeling the way I did.”
Jewelry-making kits can be costly, but Audrey has set her sights on her goal to help others. As with most families, finances for the Brown family are extremely tight this year, and jewelry-making kits can be costly, which makes it difficult for the young family.
With the emotional support of her identical twin sister, her brother and her mother, Audrey hopes to reach her dream.
“Audrey just wants others to feel just as proud as she is,” said Ashley.
If you are interested in assisting Audrey with her endeavors to help others, please contact Ashley at email@example.com.