ASL volunteers at Deaf community service event


photo by Lilia Wilken-Yoder

President Bella Knowles plays with children. Various other games were played such as bean bag toss and Easter egg hunt.

On April 9, ASL Honors Society organized an Easter-themed festival for the Deaf community in partnership with nonprofit organization Silent Hope. The event was held in Orlando’s Faith Assembly church from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Twelve student volunteers arrived an hour earlier to help set up the booths and events, including games like bean bag toss, Easter egg hunts and face paint. 

“We volunteer because the whole point of ASL Honors Society is to help and benefit the Deaf community. To do that, we help children by making a completely inclusive event that they may not be able to experience like normal kids can,” ASL Honor Society president Bella Knowles said.

After a successful fall event, ASL decided to take part in a similar spring festival. With an invite from Silent Hope, an organization that reaches out and helps the Deaf community of central Orlando, the club was able to provide assistance and create an enjoyable time for the children of the community. 

“I hope these [festivals] become an annual event,” Knowles said. “We are just hoping we’ll be invited back.”

The past few years have made it difficult for ASL to hold community service events as big as these due to COVID-19 restrictions. Annual festivals and further community events are expected for upcoming years.

“As students of ASL and Deaf culture, it is an honor to provide a service to the community connected to the language and culture we are learning about,” ASL teacher Grace Wilken-Yoder said. “We hope to show appreciation to the Deaf community for sharing their language with us.”