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Mining community digs deep

ARAFURA Resources chief financial officer George Bauk made the decision to establish a charity after he was given overwhelming support by the Telethon Speech and Hearing Centre to help his son, Bodi, overcome speech difficulties. Bodi was born with Otitis Media, or glue ear, a condition that was not diagnosed for the first two years of his life. The condition causes almost complete deafness, which can greatly affect a child’s speech and language learning processes during their important formative years. With the mining industry experiencing enormous growth and delivering exceptional rewards, Mr Bauk and his wife, Jeanette, wanted to give something back to the community and the centre that helped them. So, after discussions with like-minded friends in late November 2005, Dig Deep Mining for Charity was created. “I wanted to create something perpetual and Dig Deep’s goal is to network and have high recognition among the mining community within five years,” Mr Bauk said. Dig Deep provides the WA resources sector and its support industries with an opportunity to help the Telethon Speech and Hearing Centre by raising additional funds that can assist it to provide greater one-on-one care and treatment. The Speech and Hearing Centre, located in Wembley, is a non-profit organisation that has helped speech delayed and hearing impaired children learn to listen and speak since 1967. It relies on significant support from the private sector to stay operational. The centre employs a team of specialists including audiologists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, psychologists and specialist teachers of the deaf. Among the services provided by the centre’s specialists is the WISH program, which is run in private maternity hospitals to screen newborns for hearing difficulties. There’s also an ear clinic for children with hard to treat middle ear infections, and cochlear implant programs for children both in Australia and overseas. Regional families have a distance education option available via video conferencing linked to the statewide Telehealth network. Playgroup, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and pre-primary and primary school support programs focus on auditory-verbal based therapies and help children live normal and productive lives. Mr Bauk said Dig Deep hoped to provide sufficient resources for the centre to continue to improve its range of services. “Instead of sprinkling funds across the community, we want our fundraising to have more of an impact on the centre, ensuring a better ratio of therapists to children in the future,” he said. A passionate golfer, Mr Bauk decided a charity golf day would be Dig Deep’s inaugural event, which the Mt Lawley Golf Club will host on Tuesday May 2. Dig Deep committee member Willie Rowe said places were still available and an auction would be held on the day. “Because it’s our first event we have no fundraising benchmark but if we can raise over $50,000 for the centre initially, we’ll be pleased,” he said. The charity golf day is sponsored by WA-based international recruitment group, Downing Teal. Next on Dig Deep’s calendar is another golf day later in the year and a Christmas party for children supported by the resources sector.

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