News Item

Lander Alumna Helping Children and Adults to Hear

May 19, 2015
Danita Washington
Danita Washington, '06

Danita Washington '06 heads a foundation helping the deaf or hearing-impaired buy hearing aids, and two other Lander graduates work with her.

Washington was 6 when she began wearing hearing aids because of hearing loss in both ears. As she grew up, she became self-conscious and wore them infrequently, teaching herself, instead, to read lips and other compensating strategies.

She earned a business degree with a health care management emphasis from Lander’s School of Management and has a master’s in health care management from the University of Phoenix in Raleigh, N.C., where she works as a health care cost containment auditor.

Research she conducted revealed that more than two-thirds of North Carolinians who need hearing aids go without because of the cost. In 2010, she responded by laying the groundwork for the DKW Hear Me Speak Foundation; DKW are her initials. Besides raising money to help hearing-impaired individuals purchase hearing aids, the foundation offers free audiology screenings and other services.

Rashell Archie and Justin Singletary, both 2007 Lander graduates, occupy key positions in the foundation. Archie has a degree in biology and specializes in legal research, while Singletary, who majored in sociology, manages DKW’s operations. Washington, Archie and Singletary receive no pay, and the foundation has no offices. She said, “We all work out of our homes.”

While focusing on her job and DKW’s mission, Washington is also enrolled in a an assisted living administrator certification program.