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January 7, 2004

A club to call their own

From: Burbank Leader (subscription), CA - Jan 7, 2004

Hard-of-hearing and deaf students get homework help from tutors in American Sign Language at after-school program.

By Molly Shore, The Leader

MEDIA DISTRICT NORTH - Patricia Ivankovic, a program specialist for the Burbank Unified School District, greeted children Monday for a new after-school program for deaf and hard-of-hearing students at the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank.

"This is going to be exciting because deaf kids will have their own little club," Ivankovic said, adding that she hopes the program will provide homework support to families with deaf and hard-of-hearing children.

The weekday program, from 2 to 7 p.m. at the clubhouse on Buena Vista Street, is a partnership between the school district, the city, the Boys & Girls Club and Tripod, a local organization that has served deaf and hard-of-hearing children and their families for more than 20 years.

Children from Burbank elementary and middle schools, as well as children from Glendale, Pasadena and La Cañada Flintridge schools, can attend the program.

Chris Opie, executive director of Tripod, registered his 10-year-old son, Spencer, in the program.

"I want to be able to play and have fun," Spencer said through interpreter Kim Forbes.

The youngster, a fourth-grader at Washington Elementary School, had been going to an after-school recreation program at McCambridge Park.

"They had the fun stuff, but they didn't have the homework. I realized . it would be good to have some kind of after-school homework program," his father said.

Two tutors from the school district and two from the city are helping the children with their homework. When their homework is completed, the children can use the club's computers, participate in arts and crafts, and play sports.

Jake Grafman, 8, a third-grader at Washington Elementary School, said he is excited to be starting the program.

"All my friends are here," Jake said.

Bill Gallimore, a deaf and hard- of-hearing teacher at Washington Elementary School and Burbank High School, was helping Jake with his math homework.

"They'll get the necessary tutoring in their native language, American Sign Language, which is really important," Gallimore said.

The monthly cost is $100 per child, and scholarships are available for families who cannot pay the full tuition, Opie said.

Copyright 2004 Los Angeles Times