(Diane Urbani de la Paz/for Peninsula Daily News)
                                Nina Jones, center, pauses with daughter Sarah, 4, on her lap and Samee, 13, at left, with son Nick, aka Bear, 5, and dad Nick Landvik on her right.

(Diane Urbani de la Paz/for Peninsula Daily News) Nina Jones, center, pauses with daughter Sarah, 4, on her lap and Samee, 13, at left, with son Nick, aka Bear, 5, and dad Nick Landvik on her right.

With Home Fund help, youngster begins to hear

PORT ANGELES — One bright Sunday in November, Nina Jones took the day off to have a little party. It was her daughter Sarah’s 4th birthday, and the family had plenty to celebrate.

Sarah was born profoundly deaf in one ear and moderately impaired in the other. When her mother took her to the Peninsula Children’s Clinic, Amy Miller, PA-C, sprang into action, sending them both to Seattle Children’s Hospital.

A little over a year ago, Sarah went in for surgery. She would receive a cochlear implant, a device that has been called a “bionic ear.”

“The surgery was kind of grueling,” Jones remembers.

She and Sarah stayed in a hotel; her daughter, barely 3, had to fast through the next morning. The operation lasted a few hours.

“The day after, she was in so much pain. She was angry,” said her mom.

“It’s pretty hard when you can’t tell her it’s going to get better. All you can do is hold her.”

Sarah’s implant is a two-piece system that bypasses the nonfunctioning hair cells of the ear. A small external processor, nestled in her hair, listens to the sounds of the world around her, transmitting them to the implant under the skin along her temporal bone. The implant then sends the signals to the auditory nerve. Finally the brain can process the sounds — laughter, music and, gradually, words.

One month after surgery, it was time to activate Sarah’s device. Jones had her cell phone video camera poised.

It’s a short, striking clip.

Sarah, a blond sprite, is sitting at a table. She turns to face her mother. A knowing smile appears.

“I can hear,” said Mom, reading her child’s face, and a new era begins.

Yet a cochlear implant does not instantly change the patient’s experience from deafness to normal hearing and language comprehension.

It’s a learning process and practice, and that’s where Jones and her children live now.

They combine sign language with speaking aloud, and Jones said her older daughter Samee, 13, and son Nick — known as Bear thanks to his personality — are good at it.

“We work really hard to communicate,” said Jones, adding that they’ll go to the grocery store together, see various fruits and learn the sign language for them.

Sarah eats it all up.

This is a welcome change from the pre-surgery days, when she would turn her head if Mom began to use any sign language.

“She has a fiery spirit. Sarah wants to do Sarah on Sarah’s terms,” Jones said.

“Now she’s learning to speak, so her ‘no’ is ‘mo.’”

When a reporter remarked on the little girl’s sage-like expression, Mom added with a smile: “She’s way wise beyond her years, the little stinker.”

Her daughter goes to preschool at Dry Creek Elementary and to Head Start in Port Angeles, where Jones learned about Olympic Community Action Programs, or OlyCAP.

Through the Peninsula Home Fund, OlyCAP issues vouchers for basics such as fuel and groceries.

In Jones’ case, it was the gas that threatened to put her in dire straits.

She drives to Bellevue and back every other week with Sarah, covering some 300 miles in a day. Her Ford Focus has 150,000 miles on it.

The Home Fund provided several $30 gas vouchers, Jones said. They made the difference this year.

Here in rural Clallam County, she’s found it difficult to access resources for Sarah. The long trips are draining — but Jones shows no bitterness.

“Port Angeles is home,” she said, adding that when she reaches the Morse Creek curve on U.S. Highway 101, she thinks: “Ahhh.”

Jones’ family moved here when she was 9, and though she lived in Arizona for a while, she feels a sense of community back here. Thanks to her restaurant’s managers and crew, she also likes her job — a lot.

Jones, 37, hopes to buy a house someday. She might look to the West End; “I need trees,” she said.

She also looks forward to hiking and otherwise enjoying the outdoors.

“I don’t have time, but I’ll get there. Sarah and I will get there together.”

Peninsula’s safety net

The Peninsula Home Fund — a safety net for local residents when they suddenly face an emergency situation and can’t find help elsewhere — is seeking contributions for its annual holiday season fundraising campaign.

The campaign will end Monday, although people can— and do— contribute donations all year to the fund, now in its 30th year.

All contributions are IRS tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law for the year in which the check is written.

At this point, OlyCAP is helping people with funds from the 2017 campaign. By the middle of January, it will switch to the money donated this year to help Peninsula residents in 2019.

From Port Townsend to Forks, from Quilcene and Brinnon to Sequim and La Push, money from the fund is used for hot meals for seniors; warm winter coats for kids; home repairs for a low-income family; needed prescription drugs; dental work; safe, drug-free temporary housing; eyeglasses — the list goes on and on.

• The average amount of help this year has been $129 per person.

• All instances of help are designed to get an individual or family through a crisis — and back on the path to self-sufficiency.

Home Fund case managers often work with each individual or family to develop a plan to become financially stable — and avoid a recurrence of the emergency that prompted aid from the fund.

As needed, Peninsula Home Fund contributions are often used in conjunction with money from churches, service clubs and other donors, enabling OlyCAP to stretch the value of the contribution.

The goal again: “a hand up, not a handout.”

• No money is deducted by the Peninsula Daily News for administration fees or any other overhead.

Every penny goes to OlyCAP.

The money goes to help the most vulnerable members of our community, from infants to families to seniors.

Please note: Because of heavy community demands, the loss of grants because of the economy and recent cuts in government funding, OlyCAP beginning in 2012 was permitted to use 10 percent — 10 cents of every dollar donated — to pay for the vital programs and services for Home Fund clients. (Previously there were no deductions.)

How to apply

To apply for a Peninsula Home Fund grant, contact one of the three OlyCAP offices:

• OlyCAP’s Port Angeles office is at 228 W. First St., Suite J (Armory Square Mall); 360-452-4726. For Port Angeles- and Sequim-area residents.

• Its Port Townsend office is at 823 Commerce Loop; 360-385-2571. For Jefferson County residents.

• The Forks office is at 421 Fifth Ave.; 360-374-6193. For West End ­residents.

Leave a message in the voice mail box at any of the three numbers, and a Home Fund caseworker will phone you back.

OlyCAP’s website: www.olycap.org; email: [email protected].

A number of generous individuals and organizations have been donating money to the Peninsula Home Fund since the first of the year.

While most of the money is raised between Thanksgiving and Dec. 31, the fund itself never closes.

Donations of any amount are always welcome.

To donate online by credit card, click on www.olycap.org/peninsula-home-fund.

Here is a list of donors whose Home Fund contributions were processed up to Tuesday last week.

Name and amount

David and Patricia Meyers, Sequim, $250. In memory of Harold Meyers and Mary Vetakis.

Joyce Chiasson, Port Angeles, $100. In memory of Jack Chiasson.

John and Kim McBride, Sequim, $500. In honor of our parents and grandparents.

Patricia A. Donlin, Port Angeles, $100.

Bill and Rhonda Robinson, Forks, $100.

Rob and Dianne Thu, Sequim, $100. In honor of Jesus Christ.

Roy and Pat Jones, Port Angeles, $200.

Vicki J. Adams, Port Townsend, $100.

Donald Schreiner, Sequim, $500. In memory of Gwen.

Joy and Erik Erichsen, Sequim, $50.

Steve Moore and Gigi Callaizakis, Port Townsend, $1,500. In memory of Vince, Marie and Jane. In honor of Elaine.

Deborah Reed, Port Angeles, $200. In honor of our parents, Jack and Betty Reed and Ingmar and Connie Anderson.

Loren and Vera Glica, Port Angeles, $100. In honor of Zeb.

Name only

Chris Spirz, Port Angeles.

Dorothea Morgan, Port Angeles.

Harry and Pam Grandstrom, Sequim.

Gerry and Monty Crouch, Carlsborg. In memory of George and Louise Simonson.

Kate Larson, Port Angeles. In memory of Bokie and Ol’ Bob.

David and Laurie Reeve, Port Angeles. In honor of Clallam County veterans.

Beth Ashkin, Port Angeles.

Ron and Michele Fraker, Port Angeles.

Kathi Evans, Port Angeles. In memory of Betty, Bernie, Guy and Lori Abbott.

Deanne Lachner, Port Angeles. In honor of Alan and Michaelle Barnard.

Stephen and Julie Cordz, Port Townsend.

Evan Wirt, Redmond. In memory of my dad, Will Wirt.

Erika Chiang and family, New Castle. In memory of my dad, Will Wirt.

Lillie Wirt, Port Angeles. In memory of Will Wirt.

Beverly and Glenn Dawson, Port Angeles.

Joyce Morden and Joe Tamony, Port Angeles. In honor of Lauren, Michael and Mike Tamony; and Carole, Rodney, Ashley and Erin Morgan.

Rudy and April Hiener, Port Angeles. In memory of Ken and Charlotte Bradford.

Richard and Suellen Knight, Port Townsend.

John and Pam Clise, Port Townsend.

Sally C. Casad, Sequim.

Don Wilson, Port Townsend.

Sue Priddy, Port Townsend. In memory of my husband, Allen Herlyck.

Deborah Willis, Port Angeles. In memory of Mom, Dad and Derek.

Joe and Naomi Denhart, Port Angeles. In memory of our parents.

Candace and Mike Shale, Sequim.

Joe and Cheryl Winney, Port Angeles.

Steve and Lucy Nordwell, Port Angeles.

John and Laurel Nutting, Port Angeles.

Chuck Faires, Port Angeles.

Patti Brandt, Sequim. In memory of Mike.

Lee Shames, Port Angeles. In memory of Marlene Kling.

Val Johnstone, Port Townsend. In memory of Heather.

Daniel and Judy Hendrickson, Port Angeles.

Don and Barbara Smith, Port Townsend.

Deanna Reynolds, Port Angeles. In memory of Bobby.

Kay Young, Port Townsend.

Dave and Joan Miller, Port Angeles.

Michaelle Barnard, Port Angeles.

Patty Waite, Sequim.

Darryl and Joan Walker, Sequim.

Marty Mead, Sequim. In memory of my parents, Mary and Warren Mead.

Jim and Sally Halvorsen, Port Angeles.

Roger and Dianne Ludeman, Port Angeles.

Elaine Powlesland, Sequim.

Jerry and Susan Cange, Sequim.

Randy and Kim Lemon, Port Angeles. In memory of Danny Holmquist.

Chris Lemon, Port Angeles. In memory of Danny Holmquist.

Shirley Lehman, Sequim. In memory of Chuck and Randy, with loving memories.

Bill and Pennie Dickin, Sequim. In memory of Mother Phyllis Bowen.

Shirley and Steve Clark, Port Angeles. In memory of Mary Lee Long.

Michael and Katherine Smiley, Port Ludlow.

Dinner Club, Port Angeles. In memory of Bob German and Faye Basom.

Mr. and Mrs. Donald B. Thompson, Port Angeles.

Sydna and Barry Baker, Sequim.

James and Mary Jane Moore, Sequim. In honor of our siblings in lieu of Christmas gifts.

Jeanne and David Oldenkamp, Port Angeles.

Carol A. Baker, Port Townsend.

David Meissner and Lorra Cornetet, Sequim.

Pat Flood/Olympic Acupuncture, Port Angeles. In memory of Golda Reed, John Lucero and Muriel Faunce.

Charlotte L. Napiontek, Sequim.

Janet M. Olivier, Sequim.

Kathryn Hofer, Port Angeles. In memory of Dale Hofer.

Rob and Cindy Tulloch, Port Angeles.

Anne Ricker, Quilcene. In memory of Jim Christiansen.

Carolyn and Jack Guiher, Port Townsend.

Roy and Mary Gotham, Port Angeles.

Randy and Cindy Mesenbrink, Forks.

Susan B. Skubinna, Sequim. In honor of the R. P. Barker family.

Verna J. Edwards, Port Angeles. In memory of Bob Edwards.

Anna Plager and Chris Nye, Sequim.

Patricia Bohn, Sequim.

Jeff and Kathi Hamilton, Sequim.

Erde Sun, Port Angeles. In memory of Myra Lovett.

Ben and Ann Nilsson, Sequim.

Don and Edna Chicarell, Sequim.

Arnold and Debbie Schouten, Port Angeles.

Joyce Morden and Joseph Tamony, Port Angeles. In honor of Lauren, Michael and Mike Tamony; and Carole, Rodney, Ashley and Erin Morgan.

Jerry and Anna Nichols, Port Angeles.

Colleen and Andy Brastad, Port Angeles.

Ruth Welch, Port Angeles. In memory of Frank Welch.

Tom and Deb Cox, Sequim.

Anonymous

Carlsborg, $100.

Port Angeles, $500.

Sequim, $35.

Sequim, $100. In memory of Hana Cannon.

Port Angeles, $200.

Sequim, $60.

Port Angeles, $100.

Port Angeles, $200.

Port Angeles, $100.

Port Angeles, $50.

Sequim, $100.

Port Angeles, $500. In honor of reaching out to those in need in our community.

Port Angeles, $250.

Sequim, $500.

Sequim, $250.

Sequim, $300.

Sequim, $130.

Sequim, $40.

Carlsborg, $50.

Sequim, $100.

Port Angeles, $100.

Port Angeles, $50.

Port Townsend, $200. In memory of Danielle Bryce, another opioid death.

Sequim, $300.

Sequim, $300.

Sequim, $20.

Sequim, $100.

Port Angeles, $200.

Sequim, $500.

Sequim, $50.

Sequim, $500.

Sequim, $50.

Port Angeles, $200.

Port Angeles, $50.

Port Angeles, $10,000. In honor of Kay, Scott, Andrew, Stuart, Maggie, Ren, Sam, James and Rachel.

Sequim, $100.

Port Angeles, $100.

Sequim, $75.

Sequim, $50.

Sequim, $50.

(Diane Urbani de la Paz/for Peninsula Daily News)
                                Sarah Landvik, 4, is growing into her cochlear implant.

(Diane Urbani de la Paz/for Peninsula Daily News) Sarah Landvik, 4, is growing into her cochlear implant.

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