1. As the Director of Youth Enrichment Programs at WHOLE ME, can you share what the organization is about?
WHOLE ME Inc is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves Deaf individuals and their families. WHOLE ME has a variety of programs, such as our after-school program, preschool program, teen program, transitioning and workforce development, Deaf senior care services, care coordination, and many other things.
2. Can you tell us about the WHOLE ME Enrichment Programs?
WHOLE ME Enrichment Programs provide activities that focus on enhancing everyday interaction, literacy, and daily living skills. In order to help families understand their child’s unique communication needs, we provide a variety of opportunities for communication and interaction. Our front-line staff is comprised of Deaf professionals and role models, as well as parent volunteers. The after-school program provides a “safe zone” for our Deaf youth. A “safe zone” for them is a space where they can communicate in a shared language, engage with Deaf role models, and feel inclusive in their environment. When I was a child myself, I attended the after-school program and that is exactly what I gained from attending. I am so grateful to give back to today’s Deaf youth by providing that experience for them. This is truly a one-of-a-kind place in Central New York where Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals feel accepted, welcome, and valued.
3. What kind of classes and workshops are offered?
We have ASL classes that are happening virtually, and you can sign up right on our website. We often give workshops to our Deaf Community on essential topics.
We also do outreach for the rest of our community. We come into your workplace and provide ASL Classes and/or a “Deaf/HOH 101,” where we discuss how to interact with a Deaf individual, share some cultural facts, and show how to communicate with them.
4. What plans can we look forward to from WHOLE ME?
WHOLE ME, Inc. is a non-profit organization, and we are largely recognized as a one-stop-shop that provides a strong enrichment program that focuses on language acquisition (American Sign Language and English), literacy, self-sufficiency, teambuilding, age-appropriate social behavior, post-secondary options, and job readiness skills.
We will be celebrating 20 years in February of 2023 and will continue to add new programs and services. We are growing! We hope to have a full-time Pre-K program for deaf and hard-of-hearing toddlers (3-5 years of age) at a new location in August of 2023!
Know an educator who deserves a mention? Email [email protected].
Check out the full January issue below!