“I’m proud of my language” — Northview High School students raise money to fly to Gallaudet University

The students have two months left to raise enough money to visit Gallaudet University April 29. Part of their trip is funded by the Northview Education Foundation and a grant from the Grand Rapids Hearing Loss Association. The rest of the trip’s cost is left up to the GoFundMe page their teacher started.

The way these high schoolers communicate, between American Sign Language and English, along with how motivated they are to learn more, is inspirational.

“I’m proud of my language,” said Chase Spencer, Northview sophomore. “I’m proud of ASL, I’m proud of the way I communicate.”

Chase was born in Uzbekistan. When he was 11-years-old, he moved to the United States and started to learn English and ASL.

“My family all of them can hear, I’m the only deaf person in my family,” said Alexandria Martinez.

Alexandria said as she grew up, she learned how to read lips at home. Now she, Chase, and their classmates said, from being on sports teams to biology class with their hearing peers, they are learning and building their English skills at a fast pace.

“The deaf kids can do what the hearing kids can do”: that was the resounding message from these students.

They have a lot of support at Northview: on a daily basis there are several ASL interpreters, teachers, and a program director just in their home classroom. However, at Gallaudet University in Washington D.C., everybody signs.

“Language! They use my language,” said Chase. “They use ASL and sign, and I can learn in my own language. It will be so much better for me.”

After their trip set for April 29, several Northview students said they hope to return there as a college students once they graduate.

“Gallaudet is really a place for the deaf community,” said Megan Ward, Northview teacher for the deaf. “It’s a place where people who are deaf belong. So this is a great opportunity for them to go and experience a world that was created just for them.”

When each student boards their plane come April, they will be one step closer to their future.

“I’m thinking about working in immigration, on the border of Mexico, especially as it relates to deaf people; maybe setting up a home and a school,” said Alexandria

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Gov. Rick Snyder makes appointments to Advisory Council on Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing

Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015

LANSING, Mich.– Gov. Rick Snyder today announced the appointments of Elizabeth Bystrycki, of Otsego, Jill Gaus, of Jackson, Miriam Horwitz, of Huntington Woods, and Jeannette Johnson, of Grand Rapids, to the Advisory Council on Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing.

The 13-member council, housed within the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, advises the department on matters pertaining to deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing persons.

“These individuals bring years of valuable experience to this council,” said Snyder. “I am confident their work will continue to support Michigan’s deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing citizens.”

Bystrycki is former chair of the conference committee of the Michigan Deaf Association. She studied at Gallaudet University. Bystrycki represents deaf or hard of hearing persons and replaces Jamie Maes-Eischen.

Gaus is a consultant with DeafBlind Central. She is also an instructor at Lansing Community College and previously taught at Michigan State University. Gaus has experience as a licensed practical nurse. She represents deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing persons and replaces Odessa Carter. Gaus is also appointed as chair of the Council.

Horwitz is an interpreter with English and ASL Community Interpreting, and has more than 10 years of interpreting experience. She earned a bachelor’s degree in musical theatre and education from American University, and a master’s degree of interpretation from Gallaudet University. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in interpretation, also from Gallaudet University. She represents individuals knowledgeable in the field of deafness and replaces Laura Scott.

Johnson is the development director for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services in Grand Rapids. She also has experience with the National Association of the Deaf and Mental Health Services for the Deaf. Johnson holds a bachelor’s degree in public and nonprofit administration from Grand Valley State University. She will represent deaf or hard of hearing persons and replaces Brenda Neubeck.

Appointees will serve three-year terms expiring Jan. 18, 2018. Their appointments are not subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.

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Save the Date – 50/50 Raffle Drawing- April 16!

One of our Club’s largest fundraisers – our annual 50/50 raffle – is coming up in a couple of months! Tickets will go on sale  in March and the drawing for the winner will be held at our meeting on April 16, 2015.

YOU could be the lucky winner! (You do not have to be present to win.) Proceeds from the raffle help us in our service to the deaf and hard of hearing community. So we need a successful raffle!

Contact us if you would like to purchase tickets – and watch for more details coming soon.

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Valentine’s Day Fun!

On February 13th, Quotarians Pat and Pam helped students in Miss Cindy’s classroom make special Valentine’s for their parents. The students attend school at the Grand Rapids Oral Deaf Program located at Ken-O-Sha School, a program of the Grand Rapids Public Schools.  It was hard to determine who had more fun, the students or the Quotarians!



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Child Care Needed for Northview Total Communications Program event – February 27

On of Quota’s community partners, Northview Total Communications Program, is hosting a Family Night on Feb. 27th for teachers, students and parents to participate.

Here’s what’s happening!

On Friday, February 27th our D/HH Program is hosting a family night. We are bringing in a speaker who is a Deaf psychologist to talk about raising healthy Deaf children. We are very excited! I am looking for volunteers to help with the kids, as we provide “daycare” so families can attend. The times we would need would be about 5:30-7:30. The presentation is from 6:00-7:00, but parents come early to drop off their kids and socialize – same for at the end. Also sometimes volunteers will bring crafts or activities – definitely not a requirement, but it’s always welcome!

If you would like to join in, please email Leah Kurlenda (

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Quota Fund/Friend Raisers for 2015

Quota is working hard to raise funds that will be used to help the deaf and hard of hearing and make a difference in the lives of many people in our community.

Our Fin/Fun committee has proposed three major 2015 fundraisers for Quota this year. Planning for the first one is already underway. Our popular ‘Show Me the Money” 50/50 raffle is back!  Chair Pam H. has applied for the raffle license and is busy making plans with her committee. Ticket sales will start on March 19 and continue until April 16 when a winning ticket will be drawn at our annual Installation Banquet. We hope all members and Quota friends will support this great event by buying tickets.  You never know–one of you might be the big winner this year!!

Our annual Duck Walk will be held in September. Co-chairs Martha H. and Sandi A. have plans for some new and exciting changes this year. And our final major fundraiser will be our annual Barnes & Noble Book Fair which will be held in November. Chairs Lisa B. and Pat C. are sure to have fun things planned. So watch the blog for more details as planning begins!

Please remember that Koeze’s products can be purchased year-round and the proceeds help us fund our service projects. Valentine’s Day is a great time for a Koeze treat.

And finally, Amazon Smile is always a great way to help out by just hitting a key on your computer. Visit, select Quota Grand Rapids Charitable Foundation as your chosen charity and a portion of all your Amazon purchases will help us help others.

Your support in all fundraising endeavors is much appreciated! Leave a message for us if you would like to join in the fun!

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