March 25, 2014

Deaf students find joy in public speaking

Being affiliated with Optimist International gives Optimist Clubs the ability to participate in the Optimist International Scholarship programs where there are contests for public speaking and essay writing. There is also a competition unique to Optimist Clubs and that is the Communications Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CCDHH). Allowing students who speak in a different manner than most to have the opportunity to share their thoughts, the CCDHH provides a level playing field for participants and awards the winner of each district a $2,500 scholarship.
Students from the Missouri School for the
Deaf and Blind speak in the Communications Contest
for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. (L-R) Melissa Davis,
Delanzia Hayes, Jayman Washington, and Pat Brauner.

This year the topic is "How My Passions Impact the World."

Sadly, fewer Optimist Clubs participate in this program than in the traditional communications programs. Some cite that costs related to translation is a barrier for them while others say that the deaf and hard of hearing population is small and that they would rather focus their attention on causes that reach more children.

One thing is for sure, any club that takes on the challenge is rewarded with inspiration from youngsters who are differently challenged every day and yet these remarkable students overcome their impairment and live with joy and achievement.

That's what optimism is all about: helping others find their joy. The bonus is you may also find your own along the way.

Photo credit: Dean Asher, Fulton Sun.
Read about the Fulton Breakfast Optimist Club CCDHH program here.
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