Posted by | CDS

Kim Perez - cropped

by Kim Perez, CDS Coordinator of Outreach and Bilingual Services

My journey with CDS started in April of 2015, when I applied for the job of my dreams without realizing it. Walking into CDS for the first time, I instantly felt the happiness. There were children playing, laughing, and enjoying their time in the lobby. The hustle and bustle of my first day now seems like a flash, but I knew from that moment this was where I would enjoy spending my 40 hours a week. The job description let me know I would be attending health fairs, interpreting, and building relationships with my community. However, I was unaware of the impact that CDS makes that would unfold in front of me almost daily.

It was in my third week of work at CDS when I had the pleasure of interpreting for a family with one of our partners, Clarity. This family had driven from Saluda to Greenville to receive services because they did not have a local hearing center with bilingual staff. So, for six years their daughter’s hearing loss had gone undetected. It wasn’t until she was about to be held back a grade that her teacher suggested getting a hearing test.

My first encounter with this little girl was a quiet one. Her parents let me know that she barely ever spoke, and was very shy. She has a pretty significant hearing loss that would need to be corrected with hearing aids. After the hearing evaluation and ear mold impressions, came the chance for her to pick out a pair of hearing aids. She chose the purple pair with glitter! The next step was the waiting period of several weeks for the hearing aids to be ready, and another trip to Greenville. The weeks flew by, and in what seemed like no time I was interpreting for the family again. I was there as her audiologist was programming the hearing aids and explaining to her parents what each part was and how to properly take care of these two new devices that their child would have to wear for the remainder of her life.

Next came the moment of putting in the hearing aids. The change was almost instantaneous. The shy little girl with her head down that barely spoke looked up at all of us talking with the biggest smile on her face. She could hear, and she knew it! I handed her a book with baby animals and she started pointing to each animal and telling me what they were. As we were wrapping up the appointment, she turned around and gave me a hug. It was at this moment that I realized what great changes happen daily here at CDS.

I am not providing prosthetics or orthotics like Equipped for Life, or helping a family with service coordination like KidVentures, but I get to see the gratification that these children have for the services they are receiving. The true difference that it makes within their lives, the need for what it is that each individual at CDS does. It is remarkable, and I am humbled and overjoyed to be a part of this excellent team.