A Junior League of Summit grant to the Summit Speech School has funded a new refrigerator and a 12-month supply of snack and lunch supplements, including fresh fruit and veggies, cheese, yogurt, humms and chicken. The Preschool children at Summit Speech School -- a New Providence-based nonprofit that teaches deaf and hard of hearing children to listen and talk -- are now eating healthier, protein-rich snacks, an outcome that dovetails with the League's initiative to alleviate food insecurity and enhance community access to healthy food.

“The children really enjoy the new fresher food, even though some were hesitant at first,” said preschool teacher Lea Marx.  “And now we make a point to talk about choosing healthy food as part of our functional language learning during snack and lunch time.” 

The Junior League of Summit has a long history with Summit Speech School.  In the early 1960’s, members began working with local deaf children using an auditory /oral method that was spreading across the country due to the availability of smaller, better hearing aids. At the same time, a national epidemic of maternal rubella between 1962 and 1965 caused deafness in over 20,000 newborns nationwide.

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In 1967, The League partnered with Overlook Hospital to open the first 'speech' school in New Jersey for deaf children, with Overlook providing the use of a small, blue house to house the endeavor and Junior League member May Gold serving as the School’s administrator. The Summit Speech School  -- which now annually serves more than 300 children ranging from newborns through high schoolers -- moved to a customized, and much larger, building in 1994.

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