Had infant hearing testing been available, Maureen Taylor would have realized her toddler’s behavioural challenges were actually the cause of a hearing impairment.
Luckily she caught on to what was happening and early intervention allowed Taylor’s daughter, Aidan Mayes, to successfully follow her passion later in life.
“Low and behold, we took her to the specialist and she had a surgery that corrected everything. It has been wonderful since. I don’t think she would have had the music career and become a music teacher if she didn’t have her hearing repaired,” said Taylor.
It also wouldn’t have attracted Taylor to the Penticton chapter of Quota International, where she spent the past 30 years as a volunteer, president and governor of Western Canada.
“Back then it was Joy Pinney who was the organizer and she explained to me that the main meaning for Quota was to help the deaf and hard of hearing. At the time I thought, wow I have found a support group that also is really interested in helping those in the community and worldwide,” said Taylor.
After 10 years of lobbying and fundraising, the Penticton Quota chapter brought in the infant hearing testing program to the Penticton Regional Hospital in 2007.
“That was a real highlight for me,” said Taylor. “Now every baby is tested for their hearing at the Penticton Regional Hospital. That is just so incredible because early intervention is what it is all about.”
Taylor said Pinney has been a mentor to her as the person who brought Quota International to Penticton 30 years ago.
“For 30 years anytime you ask Maureen to do anything she has been willing to do it. She really has risen to the challenge,” said Pinney at a recent Quota meeting where they presented Taylor with her 30-year member pin.
Pinney has been involved for over 40 years and created the local chapter when she moved from Alberta to Penticton as the area director of Canada. She has assisted in raising more than $500,000 by Quota International of Penticton for projects in the South Okanagan and underdeveloped countries. Pinney also was recognized by the South Okanagan Women In Need Society in 2012 with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Locally, the Penticton chapter’s Cups for The Cure gained international notoriety among Quota clubs. They were given a Quota International award for the project.
“This was huge for us because it recognized all the work we have done in our community but also everyone around the world got to hear about it. Now, some of the clubs are copying that idea and have been as successful as us in raising money. Our motto is ‘we share’ and it is very appropriate,” said Taylor.
The initiative brings awareness to breast cancer and encourages women recovering from breast cancer. The club raised funds for women recovering to help with costs for resources, training, wigs, travel for treatment, child care and other costs not covered by medical insurance.
Taylor’s work with Quota has taken her all over the world. She was on the international board overseeing projects including building a women’s shelter in New Delhi, India, that happened over the course of 10 years.
“I have met people from all 14 countries Quota is in. I could go to any of those countries and be welcomed with open arms from Australia to Aruba to Suriname,” said Taylor, who had a number of acknowledgment e-mails on her 30 years with Quota coming from members from around the world read at their recent meeting.
Penticton Quota International also supports SOWINS, OSNS Child Development Centre, host the Canada Day pancake breakfast, runs the Dental Access Fund to provide dental services to people on low income and offers bursaries for students going on to work with the hearing impaired.
“It is so heartwarming knowing that even just the small amount we can donate can have such an impact on families in the South Okanagan. It is really beautiful,” said Taylor. “Anyone wanting to give back a little to the community and have a wonderful supportive group of people around them, then Quota is where they will find that.”
There are no parameters on requirements to become a member. Recently Quota adopted associate memberships for volunteers.
“I think it is so rewarding to have these wonderful friendships, both here and around the world and to know we are making a difference in others lives,” said Taylor.