The Central Lakes College American Sign Language 'PAH' Club will be presenting the Deaf Awareness Days Friday and Saturday in the college's gymnasium.
The event, which is open to the public, is to help bring the hearing and non-hearing people together and to raise awareness about deafness.
"A lot of people don't talk to people who are deaf and are often afraid to," said Patrick Cross, a student and club member who came up with awareness days. "Understanding the deaf and being around them helps and takes away that fear."
Tanya Hoting Mrazek, adviser of the American Sign Language club, said she hopes awareness days will allow the deaf community to see that the hearing community is accepting and willing to learn about the deaf culture.
The club will be sponsoring an expo from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday. At the expo, the ASL club will teach children basic sign language. There also will be a hearing dog demonstration and a TTY demonstration. A TTY is a teletypewriter that deaf people use to communicate.
Guest speakers and performers, who are deaf professionals, will also be at the expo. Miss Deaf Minnesota, Amanda Gerten, will attend.
From 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Saturday a workshop, educational trainings will be offered and teachers can earn continuing education credits.
Courses being offered are strategies for working with interpreters and strategies for working with deaf and hard of hearing learners. Both courses will be held from 9-10:30 a.m. Courses on deaf culture and the Americans with Disabilities Act and how it applies to deaf and the hard of hearing will be taught from 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Magician Matt Morgan, a deaf entertainer, will perform at 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday. Tickets for admission are $3.
Nancy Cross of Brainerd Community Action is helping with the event. Community Action is providing transportation to 450 grade school children who will be attending the expo.
"We feel that education in any way or form and anything with cultural diversity is good for the community," said Cross.
Cross said this event will expose children to people who are deaf and hard of hearing and will allow children to see that the deaf can lead a normal life and function in society.
Mrazek said Brainerd does not have a large deaf community, but Little Falls has a larger population.
Mrazek said it is good for hearing people to be aware and understand the deaf culture.
"What would you do if a deaf person came into your business?" she asked.
The students in the ASL club helped write several grants to support awareness days. Youth Association Resources funded $1,000 for the event. The Crow Wing Power-up grant also contributed.
The Brainerd Sertoma clubs granted 100 tickets to grade school children for the magic show and plan to help with hearing screenings at the expo.
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