WINTER PARK, Fla. – A Rollins College student took her first trip out of the country to help give the gift of hearing.
Alli Wendel is a senior at Rollins College who has her own experience with hearing loss in her left ear. As a member of the Delta Zeta sorority, Wendel got involved with a mission to El Salvador lead by the Starkey Hearing Foundation through a fundraising drawing.
"I think it was more than what I thought it would be," Wendel said.
Volunteers were trained to fit and adjust hearing aids for children and adults. When she and the other volunteers arrived, Wendel said the need was overwhelming.
"When we got there, I was like 'There's no way we're going to be able to fit this many people,' like I was a little overwhelmed, but then the process started going, and we did. We fit over I think 1,100 patients in two days," Wendel said.
She said every patient had a different reaction to hearing for the first time.
"I met people who have had hearing loss since birth. Now they're in their 70s and hearing for the first time, they've just never had the opportunity to," Wendel said.
As a psychology major, Wendel said she plans to continue her work with philanthropy after graduation.
"I just saw so much, so much change and impact in someone's life. That's not something you see every day," Wendel said.
She encouraged anyone interested in participating in a volunteer effort to contact the Starkey Hearing Foundation.