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Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Mildred L. Oberkotter: Inspiring Thousands of Children with Hearing Loss to Achieve Their Dreams

Visionary leader of the Oberkotter Foundation dies at 88, leaving a lasting impact

PHILADELPHIA, May 10, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Mildred L. Oberkotter, an extraordinary individual who dedicated her life to empowering children who are deaf or hard of hearing, passed away on May 9, 2024, in her home in Moss Beach, Calif. With her unwavering commitment and visionary leadership, she inspired thousands of children to believe that their dreams could come true.

Born on May 18, 1935, in Los Angeles, Mildred— affectionately known as Mildie— faced profound deafness from a young age. In a time when hearing technology was nascent, her parents, Paul and Louise Oberkotter, defied the odds by embracing a communications approach to give her every opportunity to reach her full potential.

Mildie’s parents believed that she could communicate through spoken language, and they sought out hearing specialists and resources to support her development. This early pursuit became the impetus for establishing the Oberkotter Foundation, which Paul and Louise would form 50 years later to support families and increase access to critical resources without needing to relocate or send their child away to boarding school.

Under Mildie’s visionary leadership as a trustee, the Oberkotter Foundation flourished, making an indelible mark on the field of deaf education. Since its inception, the Foundation has provided more than $500 million to programs throughout the United States in support of its mission and created 25 new Listening and Spoken Language (LSL) programs.

The Foundation also produced the acclaimed documentary series “Dreams Spoken,” which has reached millions of parents and professionals worldwide. These films showcased the remarkable achievements of children who are deaf or hard of hearing, reinforcing the message that early intervention and appropriate support can transform lives.

In 2015, Mildie’s visionary approach helped launch Hearing First, an initiative of the Oberkotter Foundation. Hearing First provides information, resources, education, and community connections to support families and the professionals who serve them so that children with hearing loss have the opportunity to learn to listen and talk.

In addition to Mildie’s work with the Foundation, she worked at the Lexington School for the Deaf in New York and served on the boards of Weingarten Children’s Center and AG Bell— organizations that work to ensure people who are deaf and hard of hearing can learn to listen and talk.

The Oberkotter Foundation, under the continued guidance of dedicated trustees, will continue the work of bringing Mildred’s vision to life. “Mildie left us a clear vision for where the Foundation should go and what it should achieve,” said Dr. Teresa Caraway, Oberkotter Foundation CEO. “And as we enter this new chapter of the Foundation, we will bring her vision to life in new and exciting ways. Her legacy is not only what she has done but also what will be built on the foundation that she so carefully laid.”

For more information about the celebration of Ms. Oberkotter’s life, please visit www.oberkotterfoundation.org/celebrating-mildred-oberkotter.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell), an organization that provides programs and support for children with hearing loss, from cradle to career, or to the Weingarten Children’s Center, a non-profit school in Redwood City, CA, that teaches Listening and Spoken Language (LSL) to children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

ABOUT THE OBERKOTTER FOUNDATION

The Oberkotter Foundation helps families ensure their children who are deaf or hard of hearing have opportunities to reach their full potential through Listening and Spoken Language (LSL). The Foundation is committed to advancing science and innovation that will improve access to quality audiological and LSL services for children with hearing loss so that they develop age-appropriate listening, talking, and literacy skills.

Since 1985, the Foundation has provided over $500 million in funding to improve listening, spoken language, and literacy outcomes for children with hearing loss and their families.

For more information about the Oberkotter Foundation, visit www.oberkotterfoundation.org.

SOURCE Oberkotter Foundation

Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/celebrating-the-life-and-legacy-of-mildred-l-oberkotter-inspiring-thousands-of-children-with-hearing-loss-to-achieve-their-dreams-302142584.html
Images courtesy of https://pixabay.com

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