A couple of weeks ago, I volunteered at a Deaf festival. I was put in charge of the kid’s area. Think coloring, simple games and some arts and crafts. I chased balls, I colored in teddy bears, I said goodbye to balls I’d never find again underneath dusty bleachers and I handed out prizes. Mostly, I listened to what the kids had to say–either through signing or verbally. You learn a lot about kids, just by being present.
Towards the end of the day, I started cutting kids off on candy to ensure they still had their teeth at age 20 (and that I still had my sanity at lunch.). Shortly after, the concept of sharing came up…repeatedly. (I really believe kids have a tendency to hoard resources sometimes). At another point in the day, the Saint cut off a Lord of the Flies scenario from emerging with an older group of boys competing at our cornhole station. To top it off, one of the festival booths handed out Frisbees as their giveaway. Hooray. We were indoors, mind you, with hundreds of people milling about. And most of them were focused on signing. What could possibly go wrong?*
At one point an interpreter came up to me and inquired about the Deaf Kid’s Club banner we had proudly hanging up behind our area. The interpreter and I made small talk inbetween me plucking out blue and green crayons for the kid’s masterpieces. The interpreter said something that made my volunteer experience all the more vivid:
“There’s not a lot of opportunities for Deaf kids to get out and play and socialize. This is really wonderful, what you’re doing.”
Something inside of me twinged. It’s 2018, lady. Are you kidding me?