Albert Blake and Conrad Baer did the seemingly impossible feat of biking across America to raise money for the American Society for Deaf Children [ASDC] in July of 2019. Before they attempted to complete this trek, it was decided that they’d be raising funds for ASDC and they reached out to the Executive Director, Rachel Coleman who was quick to agree and loved the idea. Somehow the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf [RID] caught wind of this alliance and decided that their RID Cares program would select BBikeUSA as their project for the RID conference in Providence, Rhode Island.
At every RID conference, the RID Cares program selects a nonprofit or program to donate money to. RID was able to raise 13 thousand dollars which was symbolically given at the RID conference in the form of a large check to Coleman.
One year had passed, and there was an email that was sent out to stakeholders (Which was sent out to ASDC Members and those who subscribe to ASDC’s Newsletters. Information and link was provided by Coleman.) sharing the updates behind the partnership ASDC formed with SignOn; a for profit organization providing a platform for parents and students to meet with Deaf mentors. The Deaf mentors are providing ASL classes and connecting with the children so they can learn, thrive, and be successful. In the donation tracker by ASDC, the total donated was 27,641.33.
Coleman shared with Deaf Vee Journal that with their initial commitment in 2018 (before the BBikeUSA team donated 27,641.33) was 500 families or 50,000 dollars. They are able to, with the donations from BBikeUSA, provide classes for 776.5 families. Coleman also wanted to make sure that it was clear that if there were any “left over” sessions from the five free sessions given to individuals that submitted their code to SignOn, those sessions are recycled back into the pool of classes that are given out to families. (This is because SignOn only charges ASDC for the actual classes they provide, not by code)
Ashlee Trempus, the founder of SignOn explained to Deaf Vee Journal that the whole idea behind SignOn was hatched back in 2013 because as an ITP student, she struggled to really find or connect with the Deaf community more frequently than the “Deaf coffee chat” at starbucks on the first friday of the month due to her illness. It was frustrating because she wanted to learn sign and be involved in the community, but there was no easy way to do so. When the first client signed up for SignOn, the mother of a deaf child said, “This is exactly what we have been looking for, this is exactly what we need!” and this was the inspiration of pushing forward and continuing to offer online sessions to more than just ASL students. All of the SignOn mentors are Deaf and they are all paid a living wage.
Coleman and Trempus both shared that the partnership between SignOn has reached over 300 families and they continue to provide services. There is not an easy way for Trempus to track how many families have completed all 5 of their sessions, but they were able to confirm that over 300 families have used their access code to sign up for their account and begin their sessions.
In order for families to take advantage of the five free classes with SignOn, they must be a member of ASDC. Coleman shared that the membership is only 35 dollars a year, however they are obtaining a $125 value by getting access to these five free SignOn classes as well as access to scholarships for ASDC’s ASL Weekends, and discounts on ASDC’s Online ASL courses. .
ASDC does not want families that can benefit from the 5 free classes to feel like the $35 is a barrier. If you are a family/involved in a family with Deaf children, contact ASDC if you are unable to afford the $35 and they will work with you. For more information about the partnership between ASDC and Sign On Connect check out either the ASDC Website or the Sign On website.