Auburn and Alabama put their rivalry aside to join forces and raise money for Children’s of Alabama with the help of Wells Fargo.
The “Picks for Kids” program began five years ago with the University of Alabama, and Auburn quickly got on board. Every time there is a defensive interception by Auburn or Alabama, Wells Fargo donates $1,000 to the Children’s of Alabama hospital.
Jill Smith, director of the hearing and speech department at Children’s, said that this program has raised over $190,000 in six years for her department at the hospital.
Smith said the department has allocated the funds to benefit multiple areas in need. The donations have provided things like treatment for inpatient therapy treatments for NICU and cardiovascular babies, newborn hearing screening equipment and outpatient therapy materials, such as games, books and feeding tools.
Many children with hearing disabilities suffer from vestibular and balance problems. The vestibular system is an organ in the inner ear that contributes to balance and inhibits someone’s balance if affected by a hearing disorder.
“It’s very exciting for us because the hospital supports our department, but [the ‘Picks for Kids’] helps us stay up to date and be one of the best facilities in the state in regards to hearing and speech disorders,” Smith said.
Because of the “Picks for Kids” program, audiologists at Children’s have been able to utilize physical therapy and advance technology to help children with hearing-disorder-caused balance problems.
Patients and families who have benefited from the program have been able to visit both Auburn and Alabama during football games to accept the check from Wells Fargo on behalf of Children’s of Alabama.
“Visiting just means so much to those families,” Smith said.
Smith said there is so much more to speech therapy than articulation and hearing problems.
“We use the tagline ‘Communication begins at birth,’” Smith said.
Smith said problems with feeding begin in babies when they have speaking problems when they are younger because their mouth muscles do not properly develop. The hearing and speech department covers so much more than the average person realizes, Smith said.