Club Spotlight: Deaf Awareness Club educating about deaf culture

September is National Deaf Awareness Month and the Deaf Awareness Club took note.

The purpose of this month is to increase awareness of deaf people, issues and culture.

The recently created club teaches sign language and educates students about the deaf community.

They have not held any big events thus far, as they have only been active since January, but they plan to give students an opportunity to attend events where they can learn more about deaf culture and squash any misconceptions people have about this community.

“Deaf culture is a thing, and it is unique to deaf people because it encompasses all of the experiences they encountered growing up,” Hailey Arzaga, the club’s treasurer, said.

Hailey Arzaga teaches Deaf Awareness Club members the letter “K” in a club meeting. During meetings, they also get to learn about the deaf community’s unique culture. (Courtesy of Ida Paquin)

About 15 percent of Americans, ages 18 and over, report some trouble hearing, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). The NIDCD also reported that about two to three out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears.

“Before learning American Sign Language (ASL) in high school, I did not know anything about deaf people or deaf culture,” club president Tiffany Wan, said. “After my three years in the ASL class and attending many deaf events, I realized that I wanted to continue meeting others and spreading awareness for the deaf community.”

The club will host and attend social and educational activities for people of all ages and all levels of fluency in ASL. There are currently 11 members in the club and they plan on growing in numbers and expanding the club’s presence on campus.

“In the future we will be attending ‘Deaf Events’ which are social events with deaf, hard of hearing and ASL students. These are great opportunities to practice your ASL with people of different levels and signing styles,” Arzaga said.

Other future events include an In-N-Out Social in Walnut among club members.

There are also be events outside of the club, including the recent DEAFestival Los Angeles on Sept. 29 and Deaf Coffee Chats at Starbucks in Covina and Orange.

Activities at the DEAFestival included a “Deaf Got Talent,” show, a fashion show, ASL storytelling and arts and crafts.

The club holds meetings every Thursdays in building nine, room 271 at U-hour. For more information on the events and the club, the club can be reached at deafawarenessclubcpp@gmail.com.

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