Register staff report
In keeping with the Halloween season, hearing-impaired students from the Madison County School District recently took part in a pumpkin painting session at the Artfully Yours Studio in Richmond.
Sponsored by the Richmond Kiwanis Club, the experience stimulated the students creatively as well as socially, said Elizabeth Ward, the school district’s teacher for deaf and hard-of-hearing students, said this was an excellent opportunity for these students for many reasons.
Ward said her students are taught individually throughout the county and rarely have an opportunity to get together as a group.
“The Richmond Kiwanis Club provided generous sponsorship so our students could enjoy a fun evening together,” she said, “but the advantages of this event lasts well beyond the night of our party.”
The children benefited just from knowing they have peers with similar abilities and challenges, Ward said.
“The students had a wonderful time and are still talking about painting with their friends,” she said. “Approximately three to six of every 1,000 children have some type of hearing loss. Early intervention is very important to a child’s development and education.”
Stefanie Ashley of Artfully Yours worked with Ward to schedule the event, recruit volunteers and help with planning.
“Her studio is a great addition to our area,” Ward said, “but Stefanie’s involvement with this event shows her dedication to our community and schools.”
While at the Artfully Yours studio in the Heritage Place shopping center, the hearing-impaired students enjoyed a snack before beginning their paintings of a pumpkin. After completing their work, they enjoyed a light desert before returning to their homes.
Jonathan Clark, a Berea College painting major from Tallahassee, Fla., provided instruction for the hearing impaired students.
“Working with the hearing impaired students was one of my favorite classes,” he said. “My main focus in art is finding new approaches in the community, to promote positive social change through the arts. and to find new ways for the students to both express their own voice and give them joy in their end product.”
Elizabeth Ward is scheduled to speak to the Kiwanis Club on Nov. 20 to talk about Madison County Schools’ deaf and hard-of-hearing program and the students’ experience at Artfully Yours.
The club meets each Tuesday at 6:15 p.m. in the Galaxy Bowling Center’s meeting room.
Ward’s presentation to the club will be open to the public and anyone interested in learning more about instruction for the hearing impaired in Madison County is invited to Kiwanis Club President Jennifer Napier said, “Funding the art experience for the hearing impaired students is consistent with the focus of our club. Our primary purpose is to serve children. We have sponsored a variety of children's sports, 4-H, scouting, car seats for toddlers, headstart, Kids Konnection, Special Olympics, Key Clubs at Model and Madison Central, seasonal events at Halloween and Christmas, band support, and scholarships. Also, a major focus of the Kentucky-Tennessee District Foundation is to provide support for the hearing impaired.”
In the past, Richmond Kiwanians have provided financial support to the Delta Zeta Sorority at Eastern Kentucky University to support their philanthropy of better hearing and speech. The contributions to Delta Zeta helped build a dance studio at Gallaudet University, the only four-year accredited school for the deaf in the world.
In 2007 the Richmond Kiwanis Board of directors purchased two Reliability Direct AR824 Multi-Range Sound Level Meters which each speech and hard of hearing teachers in the school district could use to help identify and reduce collateral sounds as well as to demonstrate levels of sounds as part of their classroom curriculum and in teacher in-service training.
Information about the Kiwanis Club of Richmond may be found at www.richmondkiwanis.info.