Yvonne Keane, President, Founder and CEO, Hear the Children Early Intervention Centre and the Reach for the Rainbow Foundation

Yvonne Keane

Yvonne Keane, a resident of the Hills District, has been nominated for the 2013 Women of the West Award for her services to hearing impaired children and their families in Greater Western Sydney.

For the past four years Yvonne has dedicated herself to fundraising initiatives, and raising community awareness of the importance of early intervention for the hearing impaired.

She is the founder of the Hear the Children Early Intervention Centre, an organisation which provides children with access to life-changing Auditory-Verbal Therapy which allows them the opportunity to develop clear and natural speech.

In March 2009, Yvonne’s son Asher was born with a hearing impairment which led Yvonne to seek out the services of Hear the Children – which had been running for 36 years within the St Gabriel’s School for Hearing Impairment in Castle Hill.

The internationally renowned Centre faced closure in 2009, when Yvonne then stepped in as Co-President and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to ensure its day-to-day operations continued. Yvonne’s dedication to fundraising as well as marketing and rebranding means that the organisation is now flourishing once again.

By establishing a partnership with Fairfax Community Newspapers, Yvonne ensured that the media would maintain an interest in the plight of hearing impaired children, and the messages of Hear the Children would be communicated to the wider community.

In 2012, after Yvonne had secured the financial future of Hear the Children, she successfully negotiated for the service to operate under the organisational structure of the Royal Institute of the Deaf and Blind Children.

Yvonne has since also launched the not-for-profit foundation Reach for the Rainbow, to raise much-needed funds that aims to ensure the future longevity of early intervention services for at-risk, delayed and disabled children. In October 2012, the Hills Family Festival & 8k Fun Run raised $30,000 for Hear the Children, and is on track for raising $300,000 in 2013.

Yvonne’s nomination has been supported with a testimonial from Mr Alex Hawke MP, Federal Member for Mitchell, who states:

“The local community is indebted to Yvonne’s commitment and selfless effort to achieve wonderful results on behalf of Hear the Children Early Intervention Centre. Yvonne’s tenacity, passion and vision given to provide a much needed service in the Hills District is inspiring.”
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