Making a Difference: Helping Deaf Children in Ghana

Ronai Brumett has been invited to go with the Signing Time Foundation to Ghana in January of 2012,  in partnership with Signs of Hope International to help provide tuition and supplies for students who cannot afford to attend a School for the Deaf.

My name is Ronai Brumett. I am a Signing Time Academy Master instructor in Maple Grove, MN. I am also a sign language interpreter, I’ve been married to my sweetheart for 17 years, and together we have 4 amazing kids. My daughter Elizabeth (Ellie, pictured here with me) is 14 and fluent in American Sign Language. She and I will be joining the Signing Time Foundation team as they go back to Ghana in January, 2012.

I remember reading Rachel’s blog in 2008 and wanting so badly to be there. I sat down today to re-read that blog and I have to tell you, I started to get scared. I thought “What have I gotten myself into?” worse than that, “What have I gotten my 14 year old daughter into?” Then I got to the last few blog entries and I remembered why I really want to go to Ghana. I felt that excitement, the butterflies in my stomach, the lump in my throat and the tears in my eyes as I thought about being there, really making a difference in someone’s life.

I love to teach, I love ASL and I’m really excited about the possibilities that lie ahead with this trip. I saw one of the commercials today that show the starving kids and Africa and I thought about how sad that is. Then it struck me that the deaf children are not only physically hungry but they are mentally starved. They are longing for communication, knowledge and the chance to prove that they are not worthless. Reading Rachel’s blog about the teachers thinking it was useless to sign to the little kids because they didn’t know the signs, nearly broke my heart. I want to help make a difference, to see the look of understanding that happens when a concept in conveyed in a way that they finally “get it”.

I also want this for me, I know that may sound selfish, but I’m trying to be honest here. I feel that maybe I’ve just been cycling (Rachel’s blog day 10) that I just keep doing what I’m doing because I didn’t die in the night. I want my life to have meaning, I want to teach that to my children. I want them to grow to be the kind of people that want to make a difference also. And so I’m done waiting for that change to miraculously happen, it’s time to make it happen.

To pay for this trip, I have started going through all of our extra stuff and selling it on eBay. Ellie and I have been making homemade cards and treats, selling them different places to earn our way. I have set up classes and all of my class fees and the profit from selling Signing Time products has been put aside for our trip. My husband designed the “limited Edition Signing Time Pewter Pins” to help offset some of the cost, and I have asked friends and family and pretty much anyone who would listen to donate so that we can go and do some good. It’s a very difficult time of year to ask people to donate and of the $7600 that we need cover our expenses, we have been able to come up with about $3000. That is OK as I will continue to make stuff, teach classes and share with people the great opportunity they have to donate and make a difference also, until the debt is paid.

If you would like to help out, you can make a tax-deductible donation: 

 

Or buy the Limited Edition Hopkins Pin:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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