Greenbrier West students host event for Deaf Awareness Month 

By Stephen Baldwin, RealWV

Led by advisor Misty Boone, a group of junior and seniors at Greenbrier West are reaching out to the deaf and hard of hearing community in the Meadow River Valley. 

“They aim to increase the availability of interpreters for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community in West Virginia, ensuring access to vital information in settings such as schools, doctor’s offices, courts, and more,” Boone says. “They aspire to become American Sign Language interpreters.” 

In preparation for their professional duties, they formed a student club called the Alliance Interpreting Agency (AIA). To kick of the year, the AIA will host an event at Greenbrier West this Friday night at 6:30pm. 

“The even will feature performances and other activities that are sure to entertain and educate attendees,” Boone offers. “It’s free and open to the public and is a great opportunity to learn more about deaf culture and the deaf community.”

According to the West Virginia Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, approximately one in six West Virginians is hard of hearing. The AIA students hope their club will provide the community a means to help their hard of hearing family and friends in several ways: 

  • Volunteering: Offer your time and skills to support their mission. They may need assistance with events, fundraising, or outreach efforts.
  • Donations: Contribute financially to help fund their initiatives and training programs for aspiring ASL interpreters.
  • Spread Awareness: Share information about their organization and mission with your network, on social media, or through local community groups.
  • Mentorship: If you are an experienced ASL interpreter or have relevant expertise, consider offering mentorship or workshops to the students.
  • Attend Events: Participate in their events, workshops, or training sessions to learn more about ASL and Deaf culture.
  • Advocacy: Advocate for the importance of ASL interpreters in various community settings to help raise awareness and support their cause.
  • Collaboration: If you represent a local business or organization, explore potential partnerships or collaborations with the agency to promote accessibility for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.
  • Resource Sharing: Share resources or contacts that may be beneficial to their mission, such as connections with Deaf organizations or educational institutions.
  • Supporting Students: Encourage students in your community who are interested in becoming ASL interpreters to consider joining the agency or pursuing related education and training.
  • Feedback: Provide feedback and suggestions to help them improve their services and initiatives.

By engaging with the AIA in these ways, the students hope community members can actively increase accessibility and support for the Deaf and hard of hearing community in West Virginia.

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