The Sound Start Foundation supports educational and therapeutic programs to help babies and toddlers with hearing loss, and their families, lead full and successful lives.
Sound Start Foundation was founded in 1996. It was born out of the need for high-quality early intervention services for babies and toddlers with hearing loss in New Jersey. Sound Start Foundation’s mission is to support educational and therapeutic programs to help babies and toddlers with hearing loss, and their families, lead full and successful lives.
If babies with hearing loss don’t receive intensive and personalized therapy during the most critical years of brain development — newborn to age 3 — irreversible delays in speech and learning can occur. According to the CDC, about 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears.
Sound Start Foundation supports the Sound Start Babies Program for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children, which provides life-changing early intervention, family-support and nursery programs to children with hearing loss throughout New Jersey. The Sound Start Babies Program has helped thousands of babies with hearing loss learn to listen, speak, communicate and achieve their full potential.
The Sound Start Babies Program relies on support from Sound Start Foundation so babies who are deaf or hard of hearing can receive the help they need immediately, regardless of their financial status or funding from the State. Each year, the Foundation provides up to 60% of the funding needed to run The Sound Start Babies Program.
After years of successful fundraising, Sound Start Foundation successfully created a reserve fund which ensured that, in an economic downturn, every baby enrolled in the Program would be able to continue receiving critical early intervention therapies until they reached their third birthday and aged out of the early intervention system.
How Your Donation Helps
Your donation helps pay for expert staff, specialized therapies, supplies and family education that will help the deaf and hard of hearing children enrolled in the Sound Start Babies Program learn to communicate on par with their hearing peers.
Lake Drive Foundation for the Deaf was founded to support the Lake Drive School for Children Who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Mountain Lakes, NJ.
The foundation was particularly concerned with ensuring that infants and toddlers with hearing loss continue to have access to comprehensive high quality early intervention services, that had previously been funded through grants from the NJ Department of Education to the Mountain Lakes School District. In 1996 all services for this vulnerable population were switched from the Department of Education to the NJ Department of Health (DOH). Significant changes in the funding model ensued and subsequently resulted in fee for service payments to the program and cost sharing expenses for families. The Department of Health model placed many limitations on the type, quantity, and location of services. It was evident that under this model and level of reimbursement, the program would not be able to continue to provide the high-quality early intervention services for the children with hearing loss and needed outside financial resources to provide the research validated care that is defined as best practice for this population.
Concerned community volunteers and parents of children with hearing loss stepped into the gap and organized and formed the new not-for-profit foundation. The initial fundraising revenue came from donations by concerned community members, families of children with hearing loss, grants, and small fundraising events.
The inaugural fundraising gala was held.
After years of successful fundraising, a million-dollar reserve fund was created which ensured that, in an economic downturn, every baby currently in the program would be able to complete the entire three years of early intervention therapy.
The Early Intervention Program expanded to include a nursery program that combined typically developing toddlers (ages 1 ½ to 3) with same age toddlers with hearing loss.
A third nursery classroom was opened further expanding the program reach. A transformative foundation grant was secured to launch a pilot program for tele-intervention services, bringing Sound Start Babies Program on the forefront of telehealth services.
The Lake Drive Foundation changed its name to Sound Start Babies Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children. This was done in part to raise awareness for how critical it is to get therapy for a child with hearing loss as soon as six months after birth.
The Sound Start Babies Program became a separate legal entity employing the personnel who provide early intervention services and staff the nursery program. The Sound Start Babies Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children was renamed to Sound Start Foundation.
Sound Start Benefit
The annual Sound Start Benefit is hosted by Sound Start Foundation to benefit the Sound Start Babies Program for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children. The inaugural gala was held in 2004 and for over 16 years this signature event has been critical to the success of Sound Start Foundation. Every year our donors, volunteers, board members and staff gather for an incredible night to raise critical funds for the Foundation and the life-changing programs we support.