Millburn, NJ | 17
2014 Award Recipient
Samantha Vinik, born with severe hearing loss, always wanted to help others prevent the loss she couldn’t avoid. She started by working with a few friends to design a lesson that teachers could use on how to prevent noise-induced hearing loss. After offering the lesson to 100 school districts—and getting 100 “no’s”—Samantha started iTold4. Taught entirely by student volunteers, iTold4 uses the power of word-of-mouth and an interactive curriculum, including special tapes that simulate living with severe hearing loss, to raise awareness. Nearly three years later, iTold4 has received a resounding “yes” from the community and has been used to by a team of 40 student volunteers to educate more than 2,300 local fourth-grade students on how they can protect themselves against preventable hearing loss. Samantha plans to continue growing the program by conducting research on environmental factors that contribute to hearing loss as part of her studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.