Replacing Ronaldo’s Hope

2018 n03

A bomb robbed young Ronaldo of much of his hearing. Then an international move robbed him and his family of their home and everything familiar. It’s no surprise Ronaldo struggled in school after they reached Knoxville. He couldn’t hear well, and what he heard wasn’t always understandable. He couldn’t sit still in class. He couldn’t finish his homework, and he resisted efforts at discipline. Ronaldo was frustrated. His parents were desperate.

Over the summer, Ronaldo got hearing aids, but that wasn’t the big change factor in his life. Soon after school started in August 2018, a woman named Clair accompanied our volunteer coordinator to dinner with Ronaldo's family. She had experience working with the deaf and with kids who struggled at school. Clair was nervous about cultural differences, but she agreed to become Ronaldo’s tutor. Clair taught Ronaldo the importance of wearing his hearing aids and worked with him on taking his time, focusing, and other study skills so he could complete his homework. Clair taught Ronaldo’s mother how to hold him accountable for his behavior and homework, while Ronaldo’s father incentivized his efforts.

It didn’t happen overnight, but Ronaldo’s school work improved. Now he submits his homework on time, takes pride in his work, and makes good grades. Ronaldo’s home life also changed. He and his brother finish their homework before they play video games now. His mother says the house is more peaceful, but his father complains this cash-for-grades plan is getting too expensive to maintain!

Clair said, “I gave up two hours a week, but I gained a family.”

One volunteer, two hours a week. That’s all it took for this family to change.

That’s all it took for Ronaldo to replace the hope he had lost.


Resources exist in Knox County to help both children and adults get the physical assistance they need, but many times the recipients don’t know how to find the resources, or they don’t understand the importance of the device (such as Ronaldo’s hearing aid) when they get it. Because of our existing connections, KIN volunteers may translate instructions for a family, or they may counsel a family to help them become comfortable with something new. When you partner with KIN, you use your existing skills and knowledge to replace desperation with dignity among the newest members of our community. Start the volunteer application process today!

Featured Posts