Cinnie Auer and daughter Eileen Bennett
The Listen Foundation honored the Auer Family for their role in founding the organization. The Auer Family has had a lifelong commitment to early childhood identification, education and intervention to help children achieve their full potential.
Pat Greenway, executive director for The Listen Foundation, said, “Simply stated, our community is stronger and our children have more options because of their dedication to those with disabilities.”
In 1961, Cinnie and Dick Auer brought home their baby boy, and 13 months later they discovered their son Rick had profound hearing loss in both ears.
Cinnie said, “Doreen’s dedication and confidence in this method made sense.”
Dick and Cinnie decided this approach would give Rick the opportunity to live in a hearing world vs. a limited world. The months went on in silence and then one day Rick reached for the fireplace and simply said, “Hot.” The therapy worked and Rick was on his way to overcoming what previously had been thought as insurmountable. Integrating Rick into general education classrooms was a battle. The American with Disabilities Act was in the distant future. The Auer’s were pioneers for inclusion.
Today, Rick is a successful businessman in the world of finance. He graduated from East High School in Denver and went on to Loretto Heights College and then completed his degree at Murray College in Massachusetts in 1984.
The story could have ended here. However, Cinnie, Dick, their family and friends wanted to help those children whose parents could not afford this type of therapy. For many, the cost of hearing aids alone made the program inaccessible. Together with a close circle of friends, they founded The Listen Foundation in 1969.
Since the inception of the Listen Foundation, thousands of families have been able to access what has become known today as auditory-verbal therapy. Changing the lives of children and allowing them to grow to their full potential regardless of ability to pay. That was the mission of Listen in 1969 and that is still the mission today. The Auers’ spirit of giving and community lives on in their blended families. Dick and his wife Norma along with her daughter Jennifer and her partner Melissa and their son, Max, Cinnie and her life partner Michael Buffman along with his daughter Alex have joined the Auer children Eileen, Rick, Amy and Joe as champions of many causes.
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