Our Youth program’s mission is to promote independence, a sense of Deaf pride, socialization, American Sign Language exposure, positive adult role models, awareness and education. Our program is open to Deaf and hard of hearing children, family, friends or any child wanting to learn American Sign Language in a safe and fun environment.
We provide bimonthly activities year round for children 3 to 12 years old (KidSigns) and for 6th to 12th graders (TeenSigns), such as a trip to a zoo, zip-lining, learning from first responders, producing videos, visiting Signing Santa and annual weeklong summer day camps for Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing children and teens.
Through our program, we also provide consultations, sensitivity training, cultural awareness and advocacy for families with deaf and hard of hearing children and teens, which includes tutoring and referrals.
Each child and their family decides which activities they would like to participate in, and after every session, they walk away with newfound knowledge of American Sign Language, English, appropriate behavior and socialization.
Language is very closely tied to behavioral and social skills issues. Once the child has the language foundation in place, with the help of the Youth Program, they can then understand better how to appropriately behave and socialize with their peers and others.
Additionally, since the great majority of the Youth program's bimonthly activities are held offsite, D&HHS works with each venue on inclusivity and educate them on how to interact appropriately with deaf and hard of hearing consumers, especially young consumers. This creates a win-win situation for all communities involved.
The Youth Program is solely funded through private grants and donations.
If you have questions, please contact our Youth Program coordinator Renita Creasy.