The Okanagan Regional Library was awarded two grants this year to run American Sign Language (ASL) programming in three branches. The Central Okanagan Foundation awarded the ORL a multi-year grant for the next three years. With the COF grant, we are planning on three programs this year: Sign with Me Story Times, ASL Basics, and ASL Summer Immersion at our Rutland and Westbank branches.
The Central Okanagan Foundation is a community foundation providing an ongoing contribution to the quality of life in our community through building endowments, grant making and community leadership. We bring donors and charities together to provide for the needs of the community today, tomorrow and forever.
The ORL was awarded a grant from the North Okanagan Community Foundation, who partnered with the Vancouver Foundation this year (the grant is from the Monty & Kathleen Foster Trust), for a Sign with Me Story Time at our Vernon Branch.
The Community Foundation of the North Okanagan connects philanthropy with community needs and opportunities in order to make the North Okanagan the best place to live, work, learn, and grow.
American Sign Language Story Time Schedule
Sundays from 1:00-2:30pm
Oct 13, Nov 10, Dec 8, Jan 12, Feb 9, Mar 8 and Mar 22
Saturday from 10:30-12:00pm
Nov 16, Jan 18, Feb 15, Mar 21, Apr 18, May 16
Nov 2, Dec 7, Feb 1, Mar 7, April, 4, May 2, June 6
It is estimated that 10% of our community is linguistically Deaf (Canadian Association of the Deaf). We know that there are friends and families that wish to connect with deaf or hard of hearing children and their community.
The ASL Story Time is a 45-minute library program for preschool to early elementary children and their families. It is a bilingual program that enables both the Deaf and the hearing communities to participate in a Story Time to learn early literacy skills in both English and American Sign Language using songs, stories, fingerplays, and rhymes.
With partnerships, ORL created the ASL Story Time program to help Deaf or Hard of Hearing individuals break through the obstacles and barriers they will or may already be experiencing.
We surveyed the attendees at one of these programs, and 100% of respondents reported that as a result of the ASL storytime:
- They learned something they could share with their children
- They felt more confident in helping their children learn
- They would spend more time reading with their children
- They became more aware of the resources and services of the library.
All survey respondents requested that we continue with this program, which we are able to do because of the generosity of the Central Okanagan Foundation.