SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Emma Rudkin and Erin Dabbs share a special bond, they both wear hearing aids. But doing that hasn't always been easy for 12-year-old Erin.
"It was hard to wear my hearing aids because I was scared that everyone was just going to like not like me as me anymore because I had those on," said Erin.
Then Emma came up with a whole new plan with her mom, Kathy Rudkin.
Kathy said, "I wanted do a campaign that we're proud of, you know this isn't something to be ashamed of, so let's show our aids!"
A social media campaign was born. #ShowYourAids. It's Emma's way of saying hearing aids rock!
"When we are comfortable with it, we invite other people to be comfortable as well," Emma explained.
Emma's campaign exploded. She knows what looks good; she just won a beauty pageant and she may make it as a singer too.
And Erin now wants her friends to see what she needs to hear. Not only is she open about telling them, she's posted a picture online showing off her aids.
"They said oh ok, well that's cool and I was like, ok and we stayed friends," said Erin.
Which is a trend she wants to see grow.
"I just hope that other people will embrace their hearing like I did," Erin added.
The "Show Your Aids" social media campaign raises money with every picture posted. The funds raised go to buying hearing aids for those who can't afford them, fund research and paying for summer camps for kids.
By the way, a donor recently offered $500 for Derrick Coleman, NFL fullback for the Seattle Seahawks, to post a picture of his aids on the site, which he did!
Out of every 1,000 children born in United States, 2 to 3 of those children are born with hearing loss in one or both of their ears. About 90% of deaf children have parents able to hear. Hearing loss means having to wear a hearing aid, which for children isn't always easy when they are growing up because they can feel different from their friends. Emma Rudkin, who is now 19 years old, started a campaign with her mother Kathy, so that people like her, who wear hearing aids could embrace them. The campaign has increasingly gained popularity and can be found by searching #ShowYourAids.
Emma was inspired by the pre-teens and teens who had been calling her about facing insecurities and bullying due to the fact that they wore hearing aids. They turned to her because she has always been confident, despite having hearing aids. Her campaign has helped people become courageous and proud or their aids as well. The campaign is called Aid the Silent, and began in January of 2015. The website and Facebook page were launched in February, and their followers are growing by about 125 new likes per week. One donor agreed to give $20 per post up $5000 to grow awareness. What the money goes towards is determined by scholarship applications and through the Advisory Board. On the website's homepage there are scholarship applications for hearing aids, FM systems and ministry camps. There are also education and research donations to organizations the board choses. To apply for a scholarship go to: http://aidthesilent.com/Apply/.
Emma Rudkin also won Miss San Antonio, where her talent was singing and playing guitar. She also won Overall Talent Winner, Overall Interview Winner and Miss Congeniality. On July 4th, she will go to the Miss Texas pageant, and hopes to be in the Miss America pageant this summer. Besides playing the guitar she also plays the ukulele and the piano. She has shown that she isn't letting having hearing aids slow her down or be insecure.