Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Great After School Program

My local news station ran a great story this morning about a group of New York school children learning sign language after school. I tried to find the video they ran because the children were quite charming, but I couldn't find it. I did find a written piece about the program and it is shown below. I really wish more school districts would consider this. Everytime I have heard of such a program the thing that impresses me the most is that the children love learning sign language.

New York school kids learn unique life lesson
October 29, 2008 10:06 AM

When you think of after school programs, things like sports, music and art probably come to mind.

But some children in New York City are involved in a more "hands-on" type of activity.

7th grader Stephanie Arbelaez has already used what she's learning in her after school program sign language.

"I was walking in the street and I saw this man and he was trying to get help because he was elderly and he couldn't ask for help. So I told my mom he was saying he needed help, so I told my mom and she helped him cross the street," said student Stephanie Arbelaez.

This is a different kind of after school activity once a week.

Students at St. Sebastian School in Woodside, Queens learn to sign with a volunteer sign language interpreter from the Little Angels Foundation.

On the day we visited, the kids were also working with hearing impaired young people, trying out what they've studied.

"I said, 'hi my name is Conor.' and I said, 'what's up," said student Conor Hurley

It's a chance for these children to learn something new but also something larger.

"Respect for people, all people, deaf people certainly, but all types of people. That's what this program promised to do and that's what it did," said principal Joann Dolan.

The kids started with some basic expressions, the alphabet and numbers.

But as time goes on, they're learning to say all sorts of things.

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