Location: Portland, ME
Project Team: Evah Hellewell, Alice Yelle-Tuck
Basic American Sign-Language Course – Have you ever wondered about making your company or event more accessible? Have you ever thought about taking an American Sign Language course? During the months of May and June Portland ME will be hosting a free community sign language course. The course will invite different members of the Southern Maine Deaf community and Interpreting community to talk about accessibility, awareness, and becoming an ally to the Deaf world. The course will be in taught in American Sign language and interpreted into English.
How are you making Maine a better place for young people?
With the progression of society, accommodations for all individuals in the workplace and community is vital. This course will be designed to spread awareness to anyone interested in learning about how to accommodate and understand the Deaf community. The course will include basic conversational sign language, a brief history of Deaf Culture in America, how to hire, use and pay sign language interpreters, and a tour of application of American’s with Disabilities act (what it means to have your company, non-profit or event accessible to all).
What challenges in your community are you addressing?
The biggest challenge in the community is the stigma around Deafness as a disability rather than an identity. The U.S as a whole is slipshod in understanding what it means to welcome it’s Deaf citizens to events. This course will be designed to spread awareness of the Deafness as a Culture, a full bodied language and access as a necessity not just a favor.
Who will benefit from your idea? How will people access and learn about the work you are doing?
The goal of the project will be spreading awareness. People that will benefit will initially be the members of the class, who will then go on to become Deaf Culture advocates and spread awareness in their own political networks to bringing the Deaf community to be more involved in the Hearing community. People will gain
What major success would you like to see at the end or apex of your project?
The biggest success I hope to see, is the understanding and learning of American Sign Language and a desire from the participants to continue learning and advocating for the Deaf members of the community.