Athens, a town where music flourishes, is packed with venues and sold-out shows. However, two of Athens’ biggest music-goers, alumnae Katie Carmody (BSED ’08) and Caroline DeCelles (BSED ’08, MED ’10), realized that most people were unaware of the long-term, damaging effects concerts can have on hearing.
Inspired by their undergraduate studies in music business and communication sciences and disorders and by their passion for music, the two graduates started We’re hEAR for You, a non-profit organization that raises awareness for hearing conservation. We’re hEAR for You supplies free earbuds in music venues all over Athens as well as communities across the nation.
Earbuds provided by We're hEAR for You
In an interview with the Red & Black, Carmody and DeCelles shared their passion for hearing protection.
“We’re trying to break the stigma of hearing protection. People think that hearing protection will decrease the quality of a show, but it actually filters out damaging frequencies. We’re hEAR for You focuses on education. Once people understand the science on why they need to protect their hearing, they are so much more likely to use hearing protection,” said Carmody.
We’re hEAR for You has established chapters in Atlanta, Nashville, Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins, but the group’s largest chapter is in the Classic City.
Locally, the organization’s major effort is to supply music venues, bars and other music related operations in the Athens area, such as Nuci's Space, with free ear buds and hearing protection resources. The public takes full advantage of the earbuds which have to be restocked quite frequently.
DeCelles and Carmody are in collaboration with the UGA Huge Hodges School of Music and strongly encourage students to get involved in advocating hearing protection. The organization takes part in the annual International Hearing Awareness Day on campus as well.
As the organization continues to grow, they work with musicians nationwide to promote hearing conservation. Currently, We’re hEAR for You has 25 bands that carry their earbuds on tour. Carmody operates as a liaison with these artists and makes sure the bands stay stocked. The organization even coordinates with music festivals to provide the earbuds to fellow music lovers.
Alumnae Katie Carmody (BSED ’08) and Caroline DeCelles (BSED ’08, MED ’10) at AthenFest 2014
Visit We’re hEAR for You at their website to partner with them or learn more about their cause.
This was originally published in the Red and Black.
Sara Alread (BFA '09) of Saint Simons Island, Georgia successfully launched her business, Little River Designs, in April 2013. The web-based business features rustic hand-crafted, wooden designs for the Southern home. Litter River Designs is a family business in every sense of the word. Sara's father is a carpenter, while her mother and sister serve as constant inspirations for new designs. The idea to create Little River Designs came in the form of a new family member.
Sara shares how Litter River Designs got its name, "On November 30, 2011, my nephew, River, was born. He became our inspiration and official mascot. We were already making signs, planning weddings and building furniture for ourselves when friends became interested in what we were creating. Soon after River was born, Little River Designs began."
Little River Designs centers around a timeless family tradition: tracking grandchildrens' growth-spurts on the wall at grandma's house. Little River Designs' most popular item is the wooden Grow Chart Rulers.
Grow Chart Rulers by Litter River Designs
Today, Little River Designs continues to develop its online business and clientele. A recent expansion includes a line of wedding signs and the personalization of all Litter River Design products. As Sara and her team grow the Little River Designs line, they have gained the attention of a few big crafting and design websites. The business has been featured on SwissMiss, Sweet Peach, 100 Layer Cake, Rustic Wedding Chic, Golden Isles Magazine, and in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Sisters Ashley Steele (ABJ ’06), of Charlottesville, Virginia., and Cali Brutz (AB ’08), of Athens, Georgia., own and operate two businesses that are modernizing the wedding industry. Steele and Brutz began working together in 2008 at the ages of 24 and 22, respectively. At the time, Steele was planning her own wedding and Brutz was a photographer. During the wedding planning process, the pair identified a number of issues that arise for the soon-to-be brides. Looking to solve those issues sparked several entrepreneurial projects.
The duo's latest venture, Borrowing Magnolia, uses a concept similar to that of Rent the Runway and Warby Parker in that brides will be able to rent wedding dresses for their big day directly from Borrowing Magnolia. The dresses available for rental will be provided by former brides who are interested in earning extra cash by lending their gown to another individual. Borrowing Magnolia ensures that the dresses are in good quality by limiting each dress to three rentals annually and five total. Sizes range from 0 to 24 and alterations are available as long as the changes are reversible
Borrowing Magnolia lives to serve the bride. The sisters ensure the brides-to-be that, "Borrowing Magnolia is committed to helping you find your dream gown, the way the modern bride does the dress. We make it easy for you to buy or borrow a designer gorgeous gown at a fraction of the retail cost, while still having a white-glove personalized boutique experience from start-to-finish. Look fabulous in your dream dress, save some cash, go green, and focus on what really matters on your wedding day. That’s what we’re all about."
The sisters have obviously been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and show no signs of stopping. This year, Borrowing Magnolia is expected to have over 800 dresses in their collection by the end of the year; the business was featured in the New York Times’ Style Section; and reality show producers are in talks of covering their business endeavors.
Congratulation to Ashley and Cali on their stellar sucess and best wishes as they continue to help women live their dream weddings.
Keysha Lee (ABJ '97) is an award-winning broadcast video production instructer, former 40 Under 40 honoree and proud Bulldog. Since earning her degree from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, Keysha's career has led her to places she never imagined, including covering the story of a dying man whose last wish was to take his wife to the Masters Tournament, reporting live from the Greensboro Airport following the September 11th attacks and interviewng living legends at the reenactment of the Selma to Montgomery March. After working in three television markets, Keysha made the transition to teaching, a job that combines her two passions: broadcasting and working with students to help them realize their dreams.
With assistance from an all-student production crew, Keysha stars in her own television show, "Lessons with Mrs. Lee." She interviews exceptional guests who share life lessons and career tips. Her first guest was Connie Seacrest, mother of media mogul, American Idol host and former UGA student Ryan Seacrest. Other notable guests have included:
-- Judge Glenda Hatchett of the Emmy-nominated show Judge Hatchett
-- IronE Singleton (AB '98) from AMC's hit show The Walking Dead
-- Artist/musician Eshe from the 90's group Arrested Development
The show's audience is students in grades 6-12, parents, teachers and community leaders. It gives students an opportunity to gain production skills, practice interviewing techniques, and experience a professional work environment. Watch past episodes of the show.
When not teaching, Keysha shares her broadcasting expertise across the Southeast at a variety of teaching and speaking engagements.
Journalist Amy Robach received the Distinguished Achievement in Broadcasting and Cable Award from the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication's national broadcast society, DiGamma Kappa.
The award was presented on January 23 at DiGamma Kappa's annual awards banquet at the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries.
Robach, a 1995 Grady graduate, serves as the news anchor for "Good Morning America" on ABC.
"Amy follows an American and Grady tradition of news anchors who are also great journalists, who care about what they report and how their stories influence audiences," said David Hazinski, an associate professor in the Grady College and one of Robach's instructors when she was in school. "They insist that information is factual and balanced. We're proud to have her as an influential graduate."
Since joining ABC News in 2012, Robach has traveled nationally and internationally to cover major news events ranging from the campaign to free captive school girls in Africa and reporting on the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, to covering the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia. She has also anchored "ABC News" and "20/20" on multiple occasions.
Prior to joining ABC, Robach worked at NBC News as the co-anchor of Saturday TODAY and an NBC national news correspondent. She was an anchor for MSNBC from 2003 to 2007 following her start at local news stations WTTG in Washington, D.C., and WCBD in Charleston, South Carolina.
Robach was last in Athens in October when she was the featured speaker for the Suits and Sneakers fundraiser, which generates awareness and funds for the American Cancer Society, a cause of special significance since she fought her own battle with breast cancer in 2013.
The Distinguished Achievement in Broadcasting and Cable Award is presented by DiGamma Kappa and co-sponsored by the Georgia Association of Broadcasters and Grady. Previous winners include Steve Koonin (M '79), Gale Anne Hurd and Monica Pearson (MA '14).