After months of planning and collaboration, it is now time to bring this big summer training program of ours to life. It all starts tomorrow, and right now, it sure feels a bit like Christmas Eve.

The first of the Global Foundation’s team of professionals arrived in Vietnam this weekend from points stretched across the USA with more to come from Hong Kong. All but three have been members of this program for at least 2 years, and so it has felt like a reunion of sorts gathering the group back together again. It has been a real treat for me personally to watch them so quickly pick right back up with the friendships they have forged through this operation.

The Global Foundation’s team is not only a special group of talented professionals with years of experience to share, but they are remarkable human beings as well. The commitment and energy they have lent to our program is nothing short of outstandng. I am really fortunate to know them and am looking forward to the month ahead.

This summer’s effort is our most ambitious program yet. With nine training tracks and over 150 participants, there will no doubt be lots of story lines and experiences to share. Our summer training program is one element of our larger Deaf Education Program which is focused on preparing families and professionals to support children with hearing loss in Vietnam develop listening and spoken language.

We have been working with the same group of professionals and families from 38 schools and 2 hospitals since the inception of our Vietnam Deaf Education Program in 2010. This has enabled us to ensure the progress of the participants over time as well as track the performance of the children they serve. Because the schools and hospitals represent 20 provinces in Vietnam, our efforts are increasing awareness on a broad scale about the potential for children with hearing loss to learn to listen and talk when the right supports are in place.

This summer, the first two weeks of our Teacher Training program will comprise two workshops – one in early intervention and one in classroom/therapy. Thirty-six Vietnamese teachers and therapists will take part in the hands-on format along with 36 children between 2 and 6 years of age.

Meanwhile, our Audiology team will split time between two workshops. Our Level 1 curriculum will provide introductory audiology instruction for school teams who do such work in the schools and staff from a local hearing aid dispenser. The team will also conduct training for ENT doctors at Children’s Hospital 1 in Ho Chi Minh City.

In the evening during these first two weeks, we will host our Parent Workshop,educating about 30 families about what they can do to support listening and spoken language development in their children who have hearing loss.

Later in the month, we’ll be conducting training for Level 2 Teachers, Level 2 and 3 Audiology, and a workshop for teachers of mainstream schools that have children with hearing loss enrolled.

I am so excited to see the tremendous effort that our team has put into the development of this program over the past year come to fruition. Not only has the Global Foundation team been working hard, our Vietnamese partners have too. Hundreds of pages of material have been translated over the past several months. Making arrangements for so many participants to not only attend the workshops, but to travel from across south Vietnam and board at Thuan An Center, is no easy feat. Interpreters had to be recruited. Logistics and food arranged. The list goes on and on.

This effort has always been a team affair, and this summer’s program is representatve of what is possible when committed people work together to a common goal. It is truly inspiring.

And now….the hard work is done and the fun begins. It all starts tomorrow 7 am local time. So, deep breath..and away we go!