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May 17, 2004

Open house scheduled for sign language lab

From: Grand Island Independent, NE - May 17, 2004

Open house scheduled for sign language lab

A new sign language lab has been developed at the Grand Island Public Library, funded by Third City Sertoma.

The lab is available to anyone interested in developing sign language skills, said Denise Wolfe, a deaf/hard of hearing program consultant for the Grand Island Public Schools and Central Nebraska Support Service Program (CNSSP).

She is also a speech/language pathologist and a member of Third City Sertoma.

Two open houses for the sign language lab will be Wednesday, May 19, at the library, 211 N. Washington.

The first open house will be at noon May 19 during the weekly Sertoma meeting for Sertoma members and school and community officials.

The second open house for the public will be from 7 to 8 p.m. May 19. The sign language lab consists of two cabinets that house a flat-screen computer, VCR, television and a variety of resources including CDs, videotapes and books to help develop sign language vocabulary and skills.

The materials range in skill levels from beginner to someone with interpreting experience.

The lab is located in a conference room at the library so that it is discrete, and people will feel comfortable using the lab, Wolfe said.

Library patrons can call to sign up for the lab to be sure the conference room is available. The lab is portable, in case another quiet place in the library needs to be located.

Third City Sertoma provided $3,600 to fund the lab, including a $1,000 Sertoma International Community Service Matching Grant, Wolfe said. Third

City Sertoma's primary fund-raising activities are "Vegas Nights," that club members provide for parties, meetings, proms or social gatherings.

"We book Vegas Nights throughout the year that take a great deal of dedication from our 37-member club. Our Sertoma Club averages around 18 Vegas Nights a year. However, they have done as many as 30 per year," Wolfe said.

Third City Sertoma has donated more than $95,000 over the years to CNSSP for equipment for students who have vision or hearing impairments, she said. Third City Sertoma raised nearly $7,400 in the last year, including $3,600 for the sign language lab and $3,795 for a Braille embosser for visually impaired students. Joe Dobrovolny is president of Third City Sertoma.

CNSSP serves approximately 35 hearing impaired students in Hall, Howard and Merrick counties, Wolfe said. The students have hearing losses that range from mild to profound.

© The Grand Island Independent