POSTED: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - 6:13am
UPDATED: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - 10:14am
Gonzales, La (Deaf Focus Services) — Andrea Sonnier, Miss Capital City, will be on hand to inaugurate Kidz Kamp Fun Day, the first ever day camp for deaf children and children with deaf parents, being held July 23, 2011, in Gonzales, LA. Kidz Kamp is a one day event for families with deaf children or parents who are deaf that is being sponsored by Deaf Focus Services. Children will enjoy activities such as fishing, dancing, water balloons and swimming.
While summer camp is a ubiquitous, everyday occurrence for hearing children, this is not the case for deaf children. Few summer programs exist for them, and summer can be a time of extreme isolation and boredom with few opportunities to play and have fun with other children without communication barriers. Seeing the need for deaf children to socialize and enjoy activities, Paula Rodriguez, founder of Deaf Focus, organized Kidz Kamp to fill this need in the community.
“Kids just want to play and have fun, and that’s the case whether they’re hearing or deaf. With there being no programs for deaf kids to play, we just saw the need to give them a place to enjoy all the fun and activities that hearing kids have during the summer”, said Rodriguez. “We hope that having someone like Andrea Sonnier participate in Kidz Kamp will bring more attention to the lack of summer camps for deaf children.”
Sonnier , who is deaf, won the title of Miss Capital City 2011, and uses her high profile position to raise awareness of, and advocate for, the deaf community. She will volunteer at the camp.
The event is sponsored by Deaf Focus Services, a new agency providing counseling, and family and community support, for families with deaf children or deaf parents. The Louisiana Association of the Deaf and Deaf Services Center have provided donations to support the event. Several deaf professionals from the Greater Baton Rouge Area are volunteering for the day as well, including Tate Tullier photographer and artist from Gonzales.
Paula Rodriguez, a clinical Social Worker and nationally certified interpreter, founded Deaf Focus Services to provide counseling, family support, and community support for people who are deaf and hard of hearing. She is working with Andrew Veith, language mentor for educational interpreters, to coordinate this event.