Oticon announced that singer/songwriter and 2018 Oticon Focus on People “Special Achievement” Award Winner Jonathan Hutcherson shared his unique story and his talent with teens participating in the 2019 AG Bell Leadership Opportunities for Teens (LOFT) program in Washington, DC. The summer program, now in its 23rd year, is said to be “dedicated to shaping and transforming the lives of teens who are deaf and hard of hearing by teaching them valuable skills.” Oticon Pediatrics sponsored Jonathan, an Oticon wearer, for the annual gathering that included high school students from around the world.
“I am thankful to the many supporters I’ve had over the years that have helped me to appreciate the importance of advocating for myself and having the confidence to live my dreams,” said Jonathan. “My participation in the 2019 LOFT program gave me an opportunity to pay that support forward. I want to inspire other teens to pursue their goals and to know that hearing loss does not limit their ability to achieve and contribute in significant ways.”
The talented young artist lives in Nashville—Music City USA—where he wears his hearing aids on stage, in studio, and when he’s meeting fans. His national television appearance on The Voice made him a role model for other young people, but especially for people living with hearing loss.
“It was a pleasure to have Jonathan Hutcherson with us at this year’s LOFT program. Having Jonathan with us provided LOFT teens with an opportunity to see a role model in action, especially one pursuing his dreams in music,” said Ken Levinson, co-founder and lead counselor of AG Bell’s LOFT program. “Many teens come to LOFT without knowing other kids who are deaf or hard of hearing. Listening to Jonathan’s experience and how he overcame obstacles to pursue his passion helps these teens to navigate their own careers on their journey with hearing loss.”
The four-day, sleepaway LOFT program aims to help teens develop or strengthen skills in individual leadership, teamwork, group dynamics, public speaking, and self-advocacy. Students enjoy a supportive and structured environment that is designed to increase self-confidence and understanding of their own strengths and abilities through activities that challenge them. LOFT builds connections, respect, and camaraderie among teens who share a common bond.
Source: Oticon, AG Bell
Image: Oticon, AG Bell