How to engage with your community with Karla Gunn
PowerPoint Slides

>> CHANEL BONHEYO: Hello, good afternoon, good evening, I’m Chanel Bonheyo. I’m director of youth programs and super excited to have this month’s Jr.NAD academy. The goal is to have monthly webinars and give you an opportunity to meet each other so you can share ideas and build your network. All of the webinars are recorded and stored in our Jr.NAD advisor library for future purposes, if you want to review a future topic or training you have access to these recordings going forward.

And because of that, because of the recording, we are asking that you keep your cameras off during the presentation.

Unless you have been called upon to participate, in which case you should turn your camera on so we can see your comments. We do have captioning available that you can turn on with the CC button or click on the StreamText link that is in the chat box now.

We’re very excited to have tonight’s webinar, which is how to engage with your community. Which is a very important Jr.NAD principle and that will be presented by Karla Gunn who is a longtime advisor, she will share more about her experience, but let me welcome her to the stage now.

>> KARLA GUNN: Hi, hello, thank you!

Thank you so much. I appreciate that. I thank you for the opportunity to talk about engaging with your community.

I will be sharing some slides as we go along. If you have questions, please do ask them.

I will have a few pictures as well and toward the end of the session we will breakout for discussion groups.

We’re going to talk about how we make community connections.

First, I will tell you a little bit about myself and my background.

But before I do that, let me provide a description of myself. My apologies. My name is Karla. Behind me is a gray wall. I’m a white woman with short blonde hair, glasses and I just wanted to describe myself.

I wanted to talk about some inspirations that I have had throughout the deaf community. One of those is Southern Lakes Association of the Deaf. It’s located in Wisconsin and hosts and is home to the Deaf Club. It’s in the city of Delavan. We have the Madison Association of the Deaf who has a Deaf Club that is based in Madison, Wisconsin.

The Water Tower View is a deaf senior citizen apartment and it is operated and supported by the southern Wisconsin deaf senior citizens.

Next, we have the Wisconsin Association of the Deaf and the Wisconsin Education Services Program and Outreach.

Of course, there is NAD and Council de Manos. Those are organizations that I’ve had a lot of connection with over the years.

I want to share about my upbringing. I was raised as what I call myself, a Deaf Club child.

My great grandparents, grandparents, mother and father are all deaf.

They are ones who were involved in the community, and I saw them and they saw their friends and peers fight and struggle with access.

We’ll talk more about that in the next slide.

The first place I would like to mention is the Kokomo Deaf Club in Indiana. I was raised in Indiana and went to the School for the Deaf in that state. Kokomo is a Deaf Club and there’s another club called the Greater Indianapolis Deaf Club. It’s very nearby in proximity to the Deaf Club.

Next is the Archibald Memorial Home. That organization is owned by a deaf man.

And every year they host a large gathering where they eat, share a meal, do fundraising socialize and so forth.

Next is the American athletics Association of the Deaf. We used to call it AAAD. They host a basketball and baseball tournament.

My particular club would sometimes host the basketball tournament. I would be involved as a volunteer, help out with selling foods or processing tickets or helping clean up after the event.

The Greater Lakes Deaf Bowling Association typically has a large annual gathering in the month of November where there’s a bowling tournament and lots of socialization. The National Bass Association of the Deaf is a bass fishing tournament. My father was heavily involved with that organization.

There were a lot of kids who attended that event. And of course, the national Association of the Deaf. I saw many people from a variety of organizations and that’s become a part of who I am.

Then as I grew up, I joined Jr.NAD as a member.

I went to KAN. A camp in Kansas. I went to youth leadership camp in Minnesota in 1989. Then I was involved with the hosting of the Jr.NAD national conference. That was where all of the members went to NAD in Indianapolis and were able to see deaf adults holding meetings, hosting meetings and seeing what that looked like.

We hosted parties, events and other gathering while we were there with Jr.NAD but we had the opportunity to see the adults from NAD fight for their rights, bring up issues that were important to them and vote on those issues.

That leads me to the next slide.

You can see here I’ve been a Jr.NAD advisor at Indiana School for the Deaf, at Arizona School for the Deaf and at both of those places I’ve taken students to Indianapolis, to deaf conferences. In doing that I saw high value, so I invited Indiana Association of the Deaf to present to the Jr.NAD students.

As the advisor, I had not collaborated with the state of Wisconsin and their deaf organizations.

So when I saw that happening in Indiana, it impacted me greatly. In 2007, the Jr.NAD conference was hosted at the Arizona School for the Deaf. There they had a community service project that we were involved with.

And part of that project was making a clay art project.

And it was called Ben’s Bells project. It tied us to the community and was a concept that I remembered for years after that.

In 2009, Jr.NAD conference was at Texas School for the Deaf.

So Texas Association of the Deaf was invited, the president specifically was invited to talk to Jr.NAD students and that president talked about the importance of making connections with the community.

And all of those events stuck in my mind, and it let me to where I am now.

Those are my inspirations.

From here, I’m going to share a few slides hopefully to give you a little bit of an idea of how you can be involved with your Jr.NAD chapter.

At the national Jr.NAD conferences, it helped me in terms of becoming the advisor. As an advisor and as a member.

I want to recognize one woman, Nancy Kelly Jones. She spent years as Jr.NAD advisor and gave a presentation to the rest of the advisors and inspired great ideas, then of course the beloved Dr. Frank Turk. He wrote a book titled “Oaks to Acorns” promoting deaf youth leadership through multigenerational engagement.

And this is how he typically signs multigenerational.

His emphasis was connecting the older deaf community with the young deaf community. That’s so important to our deaf youth.

Then local deaf leaders have given me inspiration, ideas for fundraising and other activities. I hope this presentation will give you some inspiration on how you can take that inspiration back to your own communities.

You can see here that schools, some allow guest speakers to come in.

Some require background check before a speaker is allowed in, but I highly encourage you to invite guest speakers to your school.

If someone is in town, capitalize on that opportunity and ask that person to come to your community and speak with your students. Frank Turk was in the area and since he was coming to Wisconsin, I really wanted him to come and meet our Jr.NAD students.

He was, of course, thrilled to do that. We shared lunch and the students were thrilled and inspired to meet with him and chat with him in person, as you can imagine.

This is a photo of the NAD president in 2010.

President Bobbie Beth Scoggins came to Wisconsin as the commencement speaker.

So I reached out to her and asked her to please find time in her busy schedule to meet with our Jr.NAD members at the school and talk to them for just about an hour.

She was able to do that and I remember her emphasizing the importance of self-advocacy and the students learned from that encounter and we memorialized it with this photo on the slide.

Another example, our beloved CEO of NAD, Howard Rosenblum, here having lunch with our students, he visited the school as a commencement speaker as well. I reached out to him and said would you take time to meet with our students and have lunch with them?

He was gracious in accepting that invite. It’s in an open space so the kids could see this CEO sitting with students who are members of Jr.NAD. It made an impact beyond those seated at the table. On the slide you see a photo of Socorro Garcia. Socorro graduated from our school and we kept in touch over the years and they were at that time a president for Council de Manos. They were gracious enough to present to the students about the significance of identity.

Recognizing your cultural heritage and lineage. I think our students profited from the presentation.

Then we have the NAD president at that time, Melissa Draganac-Hawk posing with Jr.NAD members. As an advisor I created a certificate. Melissa shook each member’s hand and gave them certificates and they were thrilled to be standing next to the president of a national organization.

It had a big impact.

Another project that we undertook, and this was a bigger project at the school, we wanted the students or rather the students really wanted to meet BIPOC leaders, we talked about the idea of reaching out nationwide to different individuals and if they were interested, scheduling time with them where students could develop interview questions which were sent ahead of time.

Then we set up a Zoom meeting between the students and themselves and recorded it just like tonight’s webinar is being recorded and then they would make their own — students would make their own slides and on Fridays we had this joint presentation that the students were running.

Here are a couple of pictures from those Friday presentations.

We had an interview with Roberto Cabrera representing Council de Manos. The next photo down was an interview with Sean Norman, who worked in the NAD office.

That was a recorded interview shared on Friday.

The next down was an interview with Danny Lucero sharing his experience as a Native American and talking about food and art projects and experiences of oppression as an Indigenous person.

There was an interview with Melody Stein. She’s a deaf Asian woman and also business owner.

Then there was an interview with Salim Esmili who shared some of their heritages. I’ve seen a couple of signs for their cultural background. In all of these interviews the students took the lead in drafting the questions and these are just some ideas that you might want to take up with your own Jr.NAD members.

These are some examples of what a Jr.NAD chapter can do.

You can host an ASL night and have the students involved from the beginning to the end making the fliers, serving as ushers in the gym, telling stories, ASL poetry or number stories. You can have an ASL night where people get to share.

Some years the students sold concessions, it was a fundraiser for other activities.

Sometimes you can partner with other organizations. In this case we had partnered with the Southern Lakes Association of the Deaf.

And in this case we had a chili dinner fundraiser. The members came out and sold the chili for YLC or other junior fundraising events.

Checking the chat that there are no questions.

This was a wonderful experience.

The NAD board meeting travels around the country to the different regions when they’re meeting in person. This was an example, they were in our region and our school hosted them. We were able to come up with an agreement that two students who needed some funding for the YLC experience went ahead and worked with the board meeting. We brought them to the Deaf Club, southern lakes Association of the Deaf and had a taco fundraising dinner.

It was a great opportunity for the NAD board to mingle with our Jr.NAD members.

We talked about the water tower view senior citizen’s complex. This is in Wisconsin, in Milwaukee, we made a flier about the students coming to visit.

We talked with their administration to make sure the deaf senior’s apartment area was open to our students to share their experiences about going to the conference or YLC, youth leadership camp, or other Jr.NAD activities they were involved in. This is a multigenerational involvement. They got to here what the younger folks are up to these days. Some of them shared their experiences when they were younger.

It was a wonderful multigenerational experience, as Dr. Frank Turk suggests that we undertake.

Mostly this has been an annual tradition, the Deaf Club will ask us to do community service such as stocking holiday treat bags for the winter program.

And again, it’s another opportunity to be involved with the community.

Some of our students were a little disappointed they didn’t get to keep the bags, but they understood they were doing a community service project.

National deaf youth day at the Southern Lakes Association of the Deaf, we would host that in the school often and then we decided to go to the Deaf Club one year and students took turns giving presentations, meeting Wisconsin Association of the Deaf leaders and they had the advertising for us. They got to see what Jr.NAD students are doing.

There were deaf seniors, some adults, some youth all together, multigenerational event.

I always, always want to memorialize these events via taking a photo.

This has not been an annual tradition but the Wisconsin Association of the Deaf schedules a dinner sometimes in connection with their board meeting and we have asked if we can bring our students along for the learning opportunity of how to run a meeting and also then to eat dinner with the board members and get to know them a little bit better.

These are some of the ideas that you might want to think about in your own state chapters.

This next slide is a wonderful experience. We have the Wisconsin Association of the Deaf and Hearing Loss Association of American, HLAA, who partner to hold a legislative day, when you go to the state house on various issues. It’s after school so the Jr.NAD members can take part. It’s important for them to understand how government works and how this process unfolds and to meet with their local representatives and their Senators. We were able to take part in that with HLAA and Wisconsin Association of the Deaf. Because they’re two different groups, the students have the opportunity to understand the different needs of the deaf and hard of hearing community. Not everyone comes from the signing community.

Generally they’re individuals who have lost their hearing over time. They ask for different things when they go to legislative day and it’s important for students to understand what their local reps and the senators are hearing. It’s been a wonderful experience for our Jr.NAD members.

Other wonderful events have been taken up by the Wisconsin outreach services for deaf and hard of hearing program. What they’ll do is a weekend event where students who are in mainstream programs as well as students going to the Wisconsin School for the Deaf come together and they provide leadership activities, workshops, the opportunity to meet other students and practice their public speaking skills.

And they have a deaf mentor. There is a picture of the four individuals in blue, all members of that program.

And they were former Jr.NAD members and then they became mentors, if you have some sort of outreach in your state that you can get your students involved with, I highly recommend that.

I thought I would share some of these cool things,

You want to know who your local community has produced. Our current NAD president, Jenny Buechner, who visited Wisconsin, visited the school with the Wisconsin Association of the Deaf president and then later she became the board region two representative, and we had the opportunity to sit with her again and talk about the spirit of volunteerism. Her job is not paid, and students were taken aback by the kinds of service she was giving to the community.

Then she was the NAD secretary and visited us again as a member of the board of NAD.

And now we’ll be meeting with her again in January as she takes over the presidency.

I just think it’s a wonderful journey that has been shared with our students.

Everything I have shared shows you how I’ve gotten to where I am now.

Now let’s talk about our plans for the upcoming years.

We have our reach events where we have a coffee chat, where community members can come and learn American sign language, we have students come to visit and be able to interact with people from the community.

And we have activities that we do. It’s coming up this Thursday.

We’ll also be meeting with the NAD president in January.

And we’ll go back to Water Tower View Deaf Senior Apartments in the following year. These are different ideas, ways you can connect with your community. I think we’re right on track with ten minutes. So I want to talk a little bit about thinking through these questions. Discuss some ideas for community connections with our Jr.NAD chapter.

Does your chapter have connections with your state Association of the Deaf? Are there deaf clubs in your area or deaf leaders?

Can you invite outside guest speakers to come to your school? These are questions we’re going to discuss as we breakout.

I think because of the numbers, we will stay here in this main room. Go ahead and turn your cameras on and we will begin the discussion.

Hello! How are you? Good to see everyone.

>> Hello, hello!

>> KARLA GUNN: Are you cold, Brian?

>> Yeah, it’s 40 degrees here.

>> KARLA GUNN: All right. Good, it looks like everyone who is going to turn on their camera is here.

There may be a handful more. Let’s think about those community connections and start sharing your ideas and thinking through those questions.

>> I’ve got two. We do at our school a blood drive. And it hasn’t been run for a couple of years but now we’re back and you know, we had GPSD tournament in town, a track and field event.

We made goodie bags for people, I don’t know if you remember that, but for all of the coaches at the track and field meet.

Those are two ideas.

>> KARLA GUNN: Oh, that’s neat! I remember I got your pen, and I was so thrilled about those membership pens you have. That’s good. Who else would like to share? Lindsey.

>> Yeah. This is Lindsey presenting.

I’m from Minnesota. The Minnesota Association of the Deaf, we had not really partnered with them, we had not partnered with any schools. We have two campuses for the deaf school. There’s a day program and residential.

So we started to see a youth program gain some traction and we established a committee. We just finished the youth transition day.

Which was an opportunity for the kids from ages 12 to 21 who are transitioning out of school into the “real world.” So we had organizations come and help with deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind. We had tours of the school for ASL students, it was a successful event.

We’re going to do it again next year. This was the first time we did it, so there were lessons learned but I look forward to it being even better next year.

We’re just starting those efforts.

>> KARLA GUNN: That transition day is important. It’s important to see what is out there and what opportunities they have. I think that’s great. Who else would like to share? Go ahead, Daniel.

>> This is Daniel. I’m from Fremont. We just had a Jr.NAD meeting and we elected our officers, elected and committee and now we’re making plans, it’s a slow process but we have been talking about what we can do with the community.

We’ve already discussed having a guest presenter. We’ll be doing that next month.

We’ll have to see who it is they choose, but it will be November 29th. And we are allowing guest speakers to come in person or on Zoom.

We’re also doing a project where we help out with the homeless shelter. It’s a big concern in our area, the issue of homelessness. So we’re going to work providing food or whatever else is needed.

In April, on Earth Day, we’re going to partner with an organization to do a cleanup project.

And another idea that was put forth to the committee is a youth day that happens in March where we set up mock interviews, make connections with businesses and potential employers like Google, Starbucks and other agencies and associations where students may look for employment.

So we’re looking to get that going for this next year and I’m really excited about it.

>> I’m Heather. I have a clarifying question. Are you talking about the interviews that NAD runs or running a separate standalone event?

>> This is Daniel. Before the pandemic it was in person. It’s been through Zoom and through Jr.NAD but our kids prefer an in-person event because it’s more real life where they get into professional dress and practice interacting in person.

So we’re planning on hosting one ourselves.

>> Thanks.

>> KARLA GUNN: This is Karla, who else? Janna.

>> Janna here with Maryland School for the Deaf. There are two events this year, we’re hosting a 5K walk/run event. Some of the money we’ll be donating. We haven’t selected the organization yet. Some we’ll be keeping and in terms of Maryland Association of the Deaf, we haven’t cemented a connection yet. It’s an incredibly rich resource.

>> KARLA GUNN: Wonderful, Brenda.

>> Hi. I’m from Montana. This is Brenda. We’re here at the state School for the Deaf. Our school is combined with the school for the blind and that’s how it’s been for years.

So we require community service and therefore teach our students volunteerism as a part of just what we teach here.

So every other Wednesday we have early release to allow the students to go out and work in the community and volunteer.

There is a grocery store where they ask people for donations for the food bank.

And, yes, our students are awkward when they first get out there but it’s a good experience to get people’s attention and ask for the donations. It turns out it’s very successful. Some people choose to donate money and at the end of the day we travel to the food bank to learn how they operate and what they do with the donations.

Another activity we’ve done in the past is related to the senior community. Again, we’re in a very small town in a rural area. We have seniors that are all over the place in terms of regions. But we have crafts and baking cookies and then bring those gifts as we visit seniors.

Of course, that was put on hold during the pandemic, so we’ve been sending those gifts to them.

But instead what we did is we went to the cemetery, which may seem odd, but it was interesting. There are only two people who work in the cemetery to keep it clean.

And as fall approaches and wintertime, people typically will put out flowers and it’s a lot of work to keep the cemetery clean and it often falls into disarray. So we use our students to go and help put fences around the trees and do other tasks.

The reason they need fences around the trees is because deer come in and destroy the trees. Our students come to the cemetery and clean, pull weeds. We include our students from elementary all of the way through high school. Just last week we did an activity targeted to veterans. We would go help them reorganize. They have a lot of clothing and food donations. But it was in a state of disorganization. We volunteered and helped them organize their veteran’s space. That’s been a great way, small ways for our students to get involved and learn about connecting with the community and volunteerism.

>> KARLA GUNN: I’ve been just given the warning. Chanel is going to make an announcement in a moment. We only have a couple of minutes left. So I’m going to call on the last couple of people. Heather.

>> I wanted to add something about veterans, one activity we did, it wasn’t only Jr.NAD, but we were involved as well, it was honor the flag. I’m not sure if that event was called something like that. It was for retired service members.

They were retired flag bearers. If a flag is no longer being used, there’s a process of how to retire a flag, they have to be folded a certain way. We learned all about those rules, you don’t just destroy a flag even when it’s no longer useable. That was a cool event and community service project.

>> KARLA GUNN: Wonderful. Chanel, do you want to come up? And Brian, go ahead.

>> This is Brian at MSSD we talk with students who went to youth leadership camp in the summer. I believe 12 students attended this past summer.

And we had those students share about their experiences and right now there’s football and basketball going on so it’s high sports season. We’re waiting for each of the 12 to let us know about their availability.

>> KARLA GUNN: I love when we come together as advisors so we can share ideas and get inspiration from each other.

I’m going to call on Chanel. Can everyone turn their cameras off?

>> CHANEL BONHEYO: Thank you for a wonderful presentation sharing your years and years of community service and how you’ve been able to partner with the community.

And for all of the other advisors for sharing your plans and ideas.

I’m always curious about what the chapters are up on and look forward to hearing more about the events. If you’re able to post pictures of those events when you have activities maybe on your school social media and tag us at NAD programs and maybe we can recognize your Jr.NAD chapter. Thanks for coming tonight and participating in the webinar.

Our next webinar is slated to happen December 6, 7:00 eastern time, it’s about fundraising in different ways.

I know fundraising is a huge deal for Jr.NAD overall. Our conference is next year so I’m sure you’re thinking about fundraising so your students can go. Next summer the YLC is taking place. The deadline for applications is January rather than February, January 15th, because we need more time to allow for students to fundraise to be able to attend YLC.

We’re trying to help with those ideas of fundraising.

This webinar series will continue January through May. We have maybe just a couple of minutes left if you’d like to use the chat box to let me know some topics you’d be interested in hearing a webinar about. If you’ve got a topic in mind, you can chat to us or share those ideas later as well. But we’d like to start planning the spring season of webinar topics and would like them to benefit you.

I know some regions are having their regional meetings, that’s exciting and I’ll be keeping my eye on that and getting involved so we can share ideas. Finally I want to say thank you, see you all next month and this recording will be shared so if you missed something or forgot information, you can always go back and review it.

Okay, I’m seeing some messages in the chat for topics, please keep it going.

We’re going to save the chat for later and you can always email me after the webinar if other ideas occur to you.

Heather posts the role of the Jr.NAD advisor.

And Daniel asks Jr.NAD conference structure, delegates, observers. We’ll make sure the captioners and interpreters have caught up and I wish you a great evening.

Thank you.

One of the important values of Jr. NAD is community. Jr. NAD members are encouraged t engage with their local communities through events, fundraisers, and more! Karla Gunn, a long-time Jr. NAD advisor at Wisconsin School for the Deaf, will share ideas how Jr. NAD chapters can connect with their local communities. Engaging with your local community can also bring wonderful opportunities and experiences for your student leaders!

  • DATE: Tuesday, November 15, 6:30 pm ET
  • No CEUs will be offered for this webinar
  • This is a free webinar that requires registration.


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