Improving sign language communication in blended families
Blended Bridges 2021
Our unique one-day Bridges camp in 2021 was phenomenal! We had six family groups and ten tutors working together at individual tables, doing sign language games, watching videos, and practicing conversational skills. "Today has been awesome!" commented Jarvis Pittman, one of the hearing members of his group. "I learned a lot about Deaf that I didn't know." Other family members shared multiple signs they picked up during the event, signs that can be used in their homes on a daily basis.
"I learned a lot!" said Michael Russell, hearing brother to a Deaf sister in her 30's. He learned the difference between signing a noun and a verb. His tutor, Mike Lupo (MA in Deaf Education), drove over two hours to share his skills and knowledge at Bridges. Russell continues, "He showed me how to sign in past tense. I don't have to make it complicated like I used to do. English is not ASL."
Pastor Doug Seymour shared his experience working with a family during one of the big game challenges. "The hearing members of this family, particularly the primary signer of the family, kept voicing to her Deaf sister instead of signing. I kept reminding her to use sign language. She was used to only voicing at home. When she finally started signing, her Deaf sister understood more clearly and they eventually won the game!"
"Today, I practiced a lot with my friends, signing and learning how to receive (understand what's being signed) more," Marcia Mooring shared after the program. She works as an advocate for one of the Deaf members at Blended Fellowship. Memories were made and skills learned during the program that will stick with these families all of their lives. We could not have achieved our goals without the love and support of our sponsors, tutors, organizers, and all of our prayer warriors. A special thanks goes to John's Pizza, Pikeville NC, (for donating our pizza lunch) and Sunrise Kiwanis, Goldsboro NC, (for funding our Bridges shirts). We thank you from the bottom of our hearts!