Impact Makers

Giving Back Is More Than a Job for Ball

By Michael Moliterno

While interviewing for a job at the Centers for Hearing Care in Boardman, Gibby Ball found her interests being pulled away from her future employer and toward the nonprofit with which it was affiliated.

“I wound up asking more questions about the [Hearing] Missions Foundation than I did the job,” she recalls.

The Hearing Missions Foundation was founded by Sheryl Figliano, president of Centers for Hearing Care, and her husband Fortunato, who is its executive director. Fortunato says it was Ball’s interest in the foundation that helped her land the job.

“You find that person with the heart and that’s who you want to take care of your patients,” he says.

For Ball, it was learning about the foundation’s work providing hearing aids to individuals in financial crisis that made her want to take the job.

“They really sold me on the Missions Foundation and the job just kind of fell into place,” she says.

At the foundation’s annual mission Dec. 8, 33 patients received hearing aids.

Since accepting the position of patient care coordinator one year ago, Ball has become an integral member of the Hearing Missions Foundation. She immediately began volunteering the first Saturday of every month for the foundation’s clinics, helping individuals fill out their paperwork and financial statements so they can receive their hearing aids.

The impact of the work became clear on her first day, she says, when an elderly man came in with his wife.

“He was very quiet and he did his paperwork,” she recalls.

“Once he got the hearing aids, he was a completely different person. He was full of life and had the biggest smile that I had ever seen. And he didn’t have any teeth,” she says with a laugh.

The experience made Ball want to volunteer even more. A short time later she organized a Harvest for Hunger Campaign to collect food donations for the Second Harvest Food Bank. All eight locations of the Centers for Hearing Care collected food, “and we also set up a competition with some other businesses,” Fortunato Figliano says.

Pure Cycle Studio in Canfield and Studio Oxygen in Canfield also collected food in a friendly competition they referred to as the “Battle of 224,” because of the businesses proximity to the state route.

“It was just another opportunity for us to help our community,” Ball says.

And it was made all the more fulfilling because, “my office won,” she adds.

This year Ball hopes to expand the campaign to include more businesses. After the Harvest for Hunger Campaign, Ball decided to organize a donation drive for military servicemen and women serving overseas. Ball and other volunteers collected care packages, which were then distributed to members of the military deployed from northeastern Ohio through the United Service Organizations Inc.

“It was really an amazing project,” recalls Sheryl Figliano. “We had blank thank you cards and patients could come in and write thank you’s to the soldiers.”

Gibby Ball helps patients fill out paperwork at the Saturday clinics.

Ball, who volunteered at the Hearing Missions’ annual hearing aid giveaway at Fellows Riverside Gardens, says seeing the impact volunteering can have on people’s lives is all the motivation she needs to keep giving back.

“Helping people any way that I can is just what I need in my life.”

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.