One student from the Ocean City Intermediate School is making a huge impact not only in her community, but nationally as well. Kierstyn “Kiki” Kuehnle, a 7th grader who was born Deaf in her left ear and has been experiencing loss in her right, has decided that she can make a difference in the Hearing Impaired and Deaf community. Kiki started a walking team for the Philadelphia location of the annual event “Walk4Hearing” that took place on October 9th. This year Team Kiki raised over $19,000 with 60% of the proceeds going to the Hearing Loss Association of America and 40% going to help her school supply classrooms with the technology needed to help students with hearing loss.
This is the second year for Team Kiki, with last year’s team incorporating over 80 members and raising over $18,500. Last year 60% of proceeds went to the Hearing Loss Association of America and 40% went to CHOP. She decided the team shirts should be pink, her favorite color, with the words “Team Kiki” printed above a picture of bow. Kiki even wears a pink hearing aid adorned with an adorable bow that expresses how full of life Kiki truly is.
Kiki was first told about the “Walk4Hearing” by her audiologist, and has soaked in every minute of helping others. When asked what her favorite part about participating in the walk is, Kiki responded with “A lot of people who have hearing loss don’t like to talk about their problems, but at the ‘Walk4Hearing’, they can just be themselves.”
With the idea of helping those who cannot help themselves, Kiki has had the chance to speak publicly about her platform numerous times. She was a spokesperson for a media kickoff in Philadelphia for the “Walk4Hearing” this past August and has even been on the radio. She uses social media as a way for her peers to see her efforts and often hosts bake sales to raise money, as baking is one of her favorite activities. “Go big or go home,” she says.
Last Tuesday, October 4th, Kiki spoke to her 7th grade class during their lunch to explain her story and why she is raising money. Some of her classmates have donated to her “Walk4Hearing” efforts and have one of the Team Kiki shirts.
Kiki moved to Ocean City a few years ago and absolutely loves it here. She is a member of the Ocean City Intermediate School’s Theater Club and will be participating in their fall play, A Christmas Carol on December 2nd.
To participate in next year’s “Walk4Hearing” in Philadelphia, or one of the later dates this year, visit walk4hearing.org