Our Silent Voice Marathon team has reached 78% of their fundraising goal!
The event is happening this Saturday. Our runners need your tremendous help to get to the goal!
Another $2525 is needed. We are reaching out to our generous supporters like you.
You can support any of our individual team members or the Silent Voice team itself. Here is the link to the donation page:
* You will see $5475 displayed in the Marathon page; It is because a confirmed pledge of $4,000 has not been displayed yet.
Would you please step up to see Silent Voice’ thermometer sails beyond 100%?
Every dollar you give will come back to support the programs that you deliver so earnestly every day. Every dollar you give will support Deaf children, youth, adults and their families who are among your clients at Silent Voice.
Thank you for helping us reach the goal.
Linda Abrahams and Jamaica Ocampo, two students from Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary School, won the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) competition highlighting Silent Voice’ cause to support members of the Deaf community. In recognition of this winning presentation, YPI Foundation donated $5,000 to our organization.
Thank you Linda and Jamaica! You did a fantastic job in exuding passion and knowledge about Silent Voice. We are fortunate to have young, bright ambassadors like you with a high degree of compassion and social justice to support members of the Deaf community. The gift of $5,000 we received, because of your hard work and dedication, will go a long way in making a difference in the lives of our clients and their families. We couldn’t have been more proud to have been represented by you.
Counsellor remembers the big-hearted deaf kid who now helps others.
Each week during the campaign, campers and staff from Fresh Air Fund camps will share their memories in their own words. Mike Cyr began working at Silent Voice Sign Language Summer Program in 2000 and, in 2003, he became the agency’s full-time program director of child and family services working with deaf and hard-of-hearing children and their hearing brothers and sisters.
Sixteen years ago this summer, I was working nights in the kitchen at the Paddock Tavern. I wanted to do something during the day to contribute to my community, so I decided to work as a day camp counsellor at Silent Voice Sign Language Summer Program.
The camp, the only one of its kind in the city, was a place where deaf and hard-of-hearing children and their hearing siblings could interact in an environment made accessible to everyone by using American Sign Language. Having no experience working with deaf and hard-of-hearing children, I was surprised to see so many children struggling to communicate.
One of the first campers I worked with was Juanpablo (JP) Armani, who was also at the camp for the first time. JP was often paired with me. He had difficulty communicating with other staff, some of them not deaf. He was a little guy with a big heart, though he struggled with his peers. However, as the summer progressed, he grew more confident.
JP remembers this first summer fondly: “When I first came to the camp, I did not know how to sign, but the camp taught me how to (sign) and they gave me a language so I could communicate with everyone,” he writes in an email.
JP returned to the camp for several summers, and his younger sister, Natalia Armani, who was not deaf, attended as well. I remember JP being very protective of her, often asking where she was because she was put in a younger group. At lunch time, he would make sure Natalia had her food. Natalia did not know much ASL, and it was amazing to see her big brother taking care of her without really being able to communicate.
“My sister and I became closer thanks to the camp; it became easier for us to communicate with sign (language),” says JP.
Fast forward to summer 2012: I had long left my job at the Tavern for a full-time job at Silent Voice as program director of child and family services. To my surprise, on a pile of resumes submitted for a summer camp position was one from JP Armani. He had no experience and was still in high school, but his big heart was obviously still there. He was hired, and this year, he is returning for his fourth consecutive summer camp.
“I love kids and I love being a role model for them to look up to,” says JP, who has completed his Early Childhood Educator certification at Humber College and will be seeking full-time employment in the fall.
“I love to empower them to chase their dreams and I believe children need a deaf role model to show them that they can have their own success.”
That is why camps like Silent Voice are so important — they allow the cycle to complete itself: JP is now paying it forward.
HOW TO DONATE:
With your gift, the Fresh Air Fund can help send 25,000 disadvantaged and special-needs children to camp. Our target is $650,000.
TO DATE: $501,462
Mail to The Toronto Star Fresh Air Fund, One Yonge St., Toronto, ON, M5E 1E6
BY CREDIT CARD:
Visa, MasterCard, AMEX or Discover, call 416-869-4847
For instant donations, use our secure form at: thestar.com/freshairfund
The Star does not authorize anyone to solicit on its behalf. Tax receipts will be issued in September.
Follow us at facebook.com/thestarfreshairfund and use #StarFreshAirFund on Twitter.
Silent Voice is hiring a new Settlement Worker! See the posting here for more information!
Click for Job Posting
Note:The job posting file is in Adobe PDF format.[/cmsms_text][/cmsms_column][/cmsms_row]
We wanted to announce that Silent Voice will be closed from Dec. 21st to Jan. 4th. Silent Voice will reopen on Jan. 4th, 2016. During this period, there will be no client appointments or walk-in services available.
Please click twice to view the flyer.
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