In a quiet street in Newton, MA, a community of families has worked together for one purpose, to have the chance to talk one of their neighbors. Every morning, they run into little Samantha while walking down the street and they just want to get to talk to her. But it'll need a little more planning since two-year-old Samantha is also deaf and they'll need to learn sign language to talk to her.
Glenda and Raphael moved to Massachusetts and were quickly welcomed with enthusiasm and cookies by their neighbors. In this quiet road, the neighbors treat each other like family and they help each other out when needed. They'll even help shovel your drive during winter. And when Glenda gave birth to Samantha a year later and they found out she was deaf, the neighbors got together to learn sign language so they can talk to Samantha.
Raphael says Samantha wants to talk to anyone and everyone who knows sign language. Samantha becomes super engaging when she's talking and sad when they can't talk to her. Some of the neighbors said that they really just wanted to talk to her, ask about her day, be her friend, and make her feel that she is part of the neighborhood.
Their neighbors decided to get together weekly during the evenings at one house to learn sign language. They hired the services of American Sign Language teacher, Rhys McGovern, to teach them so they can talk to Samantha. Rhys is just astounded at the efforts the neighborhood is making for Sam, especially since, from his experience, some parents of deaf children don't even bother learning sign language to communicate. But the kind people in this neighborhood commit weekly to learn just so they can talk to Sam. "...Sam has a full community that's signing and communicating with her and her family, and it is a beautiful story," Rhys said.
When the neighbors first started organizing the class, they thought they might have 12 people come to learn. They'd be lucky if they can get 20 people to attend the class. But they were so surprised when more than 20 people attended every week. Sam's parents were so touched and happy. Glenda says it was a shocking but beautiful gesture and Raphael says they are just so fortunate.
One of the residents, Lucia, said that Sam gave them a reason to come together. They might have been good neighbors before already but this time, Sam brought them even closer. The Savitz family always comes to the weekly classes, too, and the first thing Sam also signs to them is "friend." What a great neighborhood to live in!
What a beautiful and kind neighborhood for their little girl to grow up in.