Program unites kids, Baylor students in ASL, English lessons

Posted: 9:39 PM, May 26, 2017
Updated: 2018-06-19 19:01:02Z
Program unites kids, Baylor students in ASL, English lessons

When you are born without the ability to hear, or lose the ability, one could learn sign language.

There is a program in Waco that helps kids, parents and students master it and promote it all while learning from each other and practicing their faith.

Eric Grooms and Renee Jordan had a conversation about a Bible story Wednesday that he had just learned, but they were not talking, they were signing.

Grooms, who is 11-years-old, is hard of hearing, but Jordan, who is a volunteer deaf educator, is not. They're both part of a program called WIN in Waco.

Dr. Lewis Lummer, a deaf educator at Baylor University, said it pairs Baylor students who are learning to sign in American Sign Language with deaf students who are learning to write and read in English.

"There were no programs anywhere specifically on children who are deaf," Dr. Lummer said. "They were hungry. Hungry to learn. Wanting to learn and explore and motivated to do so but the services weren't out there."

That's why Dr. Lummer said the program was created in 2009.

"Really as kids, they're looking up to all older people really so it's a good like us Baylor students coming is like a good language model for them," Jordan said.

"We help with people who hear who need to learn some sign language and teach them," Grooms said.

Lummer said the participants are not only improving their language skills, they are also learning about God.

"The goal is to teach them that knowledge of God so that they can then realize that God is here, God is watching them, God is with them in everything they do," Dr. Lummer said.

Grooms can recite many stories from the Bible and shared several during his interview with News Channel 25.

"I've learned that God lives in heaven and the devil makes fun of him sometimes and what happened in heaven, God kicked him out of heaven and then he went to hell," Grooms said.

Jordan said it's fitting for her to be part of the program because she remembers when God guided her to deaf education.

"I just really heard God calling me my junior year of high school to go deaf ed, and I obeyed and I was like OK," Jordan said.

They are lessons and callings that Lummer said he hopes help sustain the WIN program for years to come.

"To be honest, if it weren't for the WIN program, what else would there be," Dr. Lummer said.

Organizers said parents also have a chance to learn sign language through the program.

They added that right now the program does not have a website. They hope to make it more widely available to the community in the future.

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