Girl born Deaf wins bike for volunteering in church nursery - WNEM TV 5

Girl born Deaf wins bike for volunteering in church nursery

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Genavieve Huntoon (Source: Barberi Law) Genavieve Huntoon (Source: Barberi Law)

An 8-year-old girl born profoundly Deaf was nominated for a free bike to recognize her volunteer help. 

You probably don't remember the first time you heard your parents say your name, but Genavieve Huntoon has been waiting her whole life to hear. Two weeks ago, she heard her mom call her by name.

“She wasn’t facing me, and she just whipped around,” Delani, the girl's mom, said. “I asked her, and she knew I said her name.”

The 8-year-old was born unable to hear anything. In December, Genavieve decided to have a cochlear implant surgery. The implant was activated in January, and now she is slowly starting to put more sounds and words together. 

Genavieve was recently nominated to win a mountain bike through Barberi Law’s Bikes for Kids program. Sarah Burkhart, Thrive Kidz director, nominated her to recognize her active volunteering in the nursery at Thrive Church every Sunday. 

“We are a portable church, so each week we have to set everything up,” Burkhart wrote in her nomination. “She helps set up our nursery and toddler area every week, so little kids have a place to hang out while their parents go to church…She is showing other boys and girls her age what it takes to learn to hear.”

Burkhart said Genavieve is a great example to other kids. 

“It doesn’t matter what age you are, you can get up and volunteer. She is our youngest volunteer," she said. 

Burkhart said Genavieve helps put the mats together for the nursery, and she picks out the toys she thinks the children would like to play with each week. She makes sure there are toys for boys and girls available, and she enjoys helping with the younger kids.

“She can relate to their gestures and limited speech,” Delani said. “She knows what to do to keep them happy.”

Genavieve was very excited when she found out she won a bike. She and her family had no idea Burkhart had nominated her.

“I had to explain it to her three times,” Delani said. “It was a nice surprise.”

Genavieve lives in Blanchard and attends school at Central Montcalm. For five weeks this summer, she is attending a speech camp at Central Michigan University. 

“She is enjoying music class for the first time ever,” Delani said. “She thought it was pretty boring before, but now is developing an appreciation for it.”

For more information on Barberi Law’s Bikes for Kids program, click here

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