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December 12, 2003

Signing Santa gets wish lists of deaf children

From: Fort Worth Star Telegram, TX - Dec 12, 2003

By John Gutierrez-Mier
Star-Telegram Staff Writer

FORT WORTH - Santa Claus' fingers did the talking with boys and girls who crowded into the Goodrich Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing on Thursday night to share their Christmas wish lists.

Chandra Bishop, 5, wearing a red sweater decorated with a Christmas tree, gave Santa a big smile and easily told him what she wants.

"I asked for a doll and a bicycle," Chandra, who uses American sign language, told a reporter through an interpreter.

Like Chandra, Santa is deaf, and that's why Chad and Alandra Bishop brought Chandra and their two sons. All five members of the family are deaf.

"I think it's great that they can communicate with Santa in their own language," Chad Bishop said.

For Bryant Robinson, playing Saint Nick was an opportunity to share the holiday magic with children who can't communicate with a nonsigning Santa.

"Everyone here is having a good time," said Robinson through an interpreter. "I've had requests for video games, music and Barbies. It's good for them to see a signing Santa."

For 35 years, the Goodrich Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing has provided services including case management, job training and social services, said Jack Larson, board chairman for the nonprofit agency at 2500 Lipscomb St.

"We're one of the only organizations in Fort Worth that offers services for the deaf and hard of hearing," Larson, an attorney, said.

The center is always looking for volunteers and donations, he said.

ONLINE: John Gutierrez-Mier, (817) 390-7155

© 2003 Star Telegram and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.