I work at the Helen Keller National Center and I established a new group here at the center for teens/youths. It’s called the Helen Keller National Center (HKNC) Youth Club. This is different than our volunteer program. HKNC does have a volunteer program, but you must be 18+ to volunteer here. A few decades ago the age was 16 to volunteer but due to many changes regarding liability the age has been increased to 18. This is not only here at HKNC but many organizations have restricted the age range as well. Since this age change I have noticed that many young teens want a place to volunteer and give back to their community but due to their age they are unable to do this independently. I came up with the idea of having a ‘club’. We started The HKNC Youth Club’ just one year ago. Our first meeting was Jan. 24, 2018.
Our last HKNC Youth Club meeting of the year was held Dec. 12, 2018. Our guest speaker and student for this month is here for training all the way from California. She did a fantastic job telling the club members about her life living as a deaf-blind individual. The project for the evening was making topiaries with the HKNC students who were paired up with the teens. The goal was to work together while communicating and creating something decorative to be displayed on the tables in the cafeteria for the holidays. One of our deaf staff members taught the teens some sign language related to the project such as colors, tree and flowers. One of the teens who worked with one of our students said, “This was the best night I ever had.” What a great way to end the night and the year!
If you want to have fun and learn something new then come join the HKNC youth club. HKNC is the only place in the country that provides training and services to deaf-blind people and it’s right here in our very own community.
For more information please contact me ilissa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Ilissa R. Sternlicht
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