Making a Difference: Helping Deaf Students in Ghana
Carissa Martos 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.
“When the Ghana trip with the Signing Time Foundation presented itself, I leaped at the chance. I solicited donations from my interpreting classmates, from families I’d worked with, and from my friends and family. I set up a page on my website, explaining the purpose trip and the mission of Signs of Hope. I went to a trade show, sold DVDs and solicited donations on Black Friday weekend and the one after. My daughter Rory made a video about the trip, and we asked for money towards the trip in lieu of Christmas gifts.
The donations were eeking along, and then we received a donation from the mother of my husband’s late best friend, Tony. Tony had passed away in a diving accident 2.5 years ago, after he and my husband had been friends for 20 years, and his mother felt this was something her son would have been excited to see happen. We’ve almost made our goal, and are hopeful we’ll make it!”
As of press time, Carissa is within $1000 of her fund-raising goal.
Donate directly to Carissa’s fund:
Donors who contribute $50 or more will receive a limited edition pin!
About Signs of Hope International
“When Signing Time opened the door to the world for my son, Julian, I became as involved as it seemed possible to be. I joined the Signing Time Academy, became the Northwest Region’s Associate Director, and I was grateful for the opportunity to serve in that role until November of 2011. I saw children’s lives change as they were able to “talk” for the first time. I watched their families become closer, happier. When I was able to teach an older gentleman with disabilities his first 200 signs, and he was finally able to start communicating with the outside world, I felt I was reaching people.
It didn’t feel like enough, though, so I began taking more ASL classes at my local college, joined a Deaf Dragonboating team, started volunteering with our local Deaf-Hearing Outreach, and at our local School For the Deaf, and my family moved to the Deaf service at our church. It still didn’t feel like I was contributing enough to the community that was so welcoming to my son and our family. After putting on my first STA Community Concert in Seattle, and seeing the hundreds of people that event touched, I knew I’d found a way to reach more people about the usefulness of ASL as a language, and the simple fact that Deaf people can do anything hearing people can do, except hear.
As the Foundation’s Signing Time Academy Outreach coordinator, I was fortunate enough to help in the set up 12 concerts in 2011. We reached thousands of families, some for the first time, and I felt touched to be able to support the marvelous women who took on the planning of these concerts. More are in planning stages for 2012, but I realized that I still wanted to do more.
In spring I applied to the Sign Language Interpreting Program at our local college, and began the program this fall. With classes not only in ASL and interpreting, but in Linguistics, Fingerspelling and Deaf Culture, and field experience hours, I finally felt like I was able to see where I was going to fit in among the people with whom my family spends so much of our time.”