The gift of sound is what the Quest Society for Hearing Enhancement gives to local residents.
Their mandate is to assist the hearing and speech impaired, to assist women and children in need, to enhance the quality of the hearing experience and to aid in the reduction of hearing loss.
Joan Lansdell considers herself to be the matriarch of the club. She recalls a time when the members belonged to Quota International. They were not happy with the fact that the money they raised was not used locally, so they decided to break away.
“We said this is ridiculous! Why don’t we start a society here, similar to Quota, get another name and be specific for Summerland. So the girls put their heads together and came up with the name Quest. We got our charter and registered as a non-profit Society,” explained Lansdell.
“One of our first projects was to put a hearing system in the schools, because we had a few children that were hard of hearing. There were four speakers in a room and the teacher had a mic. When she was talking you’d swear she was right beside you. Plus the teacher didn’t have to lose her voice. She could turn her back and still be heard. The systems cost us approximately $1,200 each at the time. We are now looking at updating them,” she said.
Quest was also responsible for putting in a similar system at Centre Stage Theater, where theater goers can wear headphones in order to hear the performance.
In order to assist in training speech therapists and audiologists, Quest gives two $1,000 bursaries to UBC each year.
They also give a $500 bursary to a local high school student who is either hard of hearing or has been accepted to a university and is in need financially.
“We’ve constantly given to the local food bank and we’ve contributed to Agur Lake Camp every year,” said Lansdell.
She also talked about an exciting new project the Society is working on.
Landsdell’s husband had passed away while only having worn his hearing aids for six months.
“I thought, here I’ve got an able pair of hearing aids and what am I going to do with them? Why don’t we collect hearing aids and see if we can get them reconditioned and let people who can’t afford any, be able to have them.”
The collection boxes for people to donate hearing aids that are three years old or newer have now been placed in local pharmacies.
In order to raise funds for all of these initiatives, Quest holds several unique fundraisers.
This year they will host their ninth bi-annual Garden Tour. Remembering the first one they held Lansdell said,
“We had 12 gardens and it rained and it poured and we thought we would never get anyone out, but gardeners come even if it is snowing!”
She went on to explain that “they are self-directed tours and we man them, our people are there.”
This year the tour is on Saturday, June 28 and will feature ten different gardens. There will also be a master gardener at each yard to answer questions.
Last September the group hosted its first Bridge Tournament. It was an all-day event held at the IOOF Hall and included a lunch that was cooked and served by the Quest members. This will now be an annual event.
Each year during the Christmas season, these ladies sell raffle tickets for a Money Tree full of toonies. The tree is valued at $300.
Like many organizations Quest is always looking for new members.
“We really need young blood. The organizations are all falling apart. We are all growing old,” said Lansdell. “We meet just once a month and the fees are only $20 per year.”
Lansdell also mentioned that May is Speech and Hearing month right across Canada.
“Statistically we know that we are getting younger and younger people that are becoming deaf. We are trying to make the kids more aware of what they are doing to their hearing,” she said.
For more information go to questsociety.shawwebspace.ca/
If you know a positive story about someone in our community, contact Carla McLeod at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Summerland Review newsroom at 250-494-5406.