PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — There’s a first-of-its-kind career and college fair in the works for the deaf community and students learning American Sign Language.
The event is open to the public and will take place from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. May 19 at Northview High School, at 4451 Hunsberger Ave. NE in Plainfield Township.
Organizers are hoping to attract the deaf community, as well as businesses and colleges that offer resources for deaf people and students.
“Our whole goal is to bring everybody together for a day to celebrate ASL and deaf culture and bring more awareness and resources to anybody who might be looking for something,” said Marie DeRegnaucourt, the ASL teacher at Northview High School. “Maybe there’s a need that needs to be fulfilled. We’ve got tons of people coming throughout the state and throughout the country to help fulfill those needs for anybody, so a lot of resources.”
Many of DeRegnaucourt’s students, as well as students from other schools, will learn more about future careers that use ASL.
“There’s tons of colleges coming to show off their deaf studies, their interpreting programs, their deaf education majors and minors,” DeRegnaucourt said. “So we have lots of opportunities for our ASL students to see what lies after high school. We have people coming from all over the country to be able to showcase these majors and minors, so it’s going to be very exciting.”
Kids can enjoy crafts and face painting at the event. There will also be opportunities for adults: The school will host employers who hope to hire people for summer jobs and full-time employment.
“We’ll have everything centered around ASL and the deaf community and deaf culture, so it should be a great event for everybody to enjoy something,” DeRegnaucourt said.
At the end of the day, Detroit’s Sean Forbes, a hip-hop artist who is deaf, will perform a concert.
“I’m hoping people leave with more excitement about ASL, more excitement about meeting new people from maybe somebody who’s from a different area of Grand Rapids from themselves or from a different school district. Or maybe they’re looking for the same thing, but they don’t even know each other,” DeRegnaucourt said. “So I’m looking for more connections, more friendships, more opportunities, and having those resources available for everybody.”
More information can be found on the event’s Facebook page or Instagram.