Published Tue, Nov 27, 2018. Written by .
As just a one year old, Gretchen was already making the sign for milk and eat to tell her parents when she was hungry. Gretchen is the child of Raymon and Maricel, two of IDEA’s former deaf students who eventually got married and had two kids. Their first child was born with hearing ability, but their youngest, Gretchen, was born deaf. Having two deaf parents, Gretchen had the opportunity to learn sign language at a very young age.
Gretchen enrolled in one of IDEA’s kindergarten classes on the island of Bohol. At only 5 years old, she already uses sign language like a champ! Most of Gretchen’s classmates have hearing parents, so they start off knowing very little sign language. This puts Gretchen ahead of her class in language development and overall knowledge. She soaks up lessons like a sponge! But, there is something else special about Gretchen. Her parents dropped her off at the IDEA dormitory and she immediately felt comfortable in her surroundings and her ability to communicate.
Raymond and Maricel don’t worry about their daughter’s future because they have seen what this education and community brought in their own lives. They know Gretchen will learn true independence and will be in good hands at IDEA.
Gretchen is a second generation IDEA student and we couldn’t be happier! Her family is a wonderful example of what we hope to achieve. Acceptance of a deaf child within the family, early learning opportunities, and confidence in knowing she is not alone. Attending an IDEA school not only changes the course of their life, but the lives of their future family as well.
Published Tue, Nov 13, 2018. Written by .
In 2015, Ethel and her family had nothing but a damaged jeepney for shelter. Jeepneys are a popular means of public transportation in the Philippines. They were originally made from US military jeeps left over from World War II and are well known for their flamboyant decoration and crowded seating. They had been living in these conditions for over eight years.
Her parents separated when she was just one year old, which left her in the care of her mother and later on, her step-father. At one point, the family had a small hut where everyone lived, but was destroyed by an earthquake. Ethel’s family also tried to rent a house, but were unable to with her step-father’s small income as a jeepney driver. With her family’s current living conditions and struggles, Ethel’s education was not a top priority.
Most of the time, Ethel was left at home to help her mother with chores and caring for her three younger half-siblings. When her older siblings would leave for school, Ethel often wished there was a way she could go along. But, no one knew a way to explain to her why she couldn't go. Often, Ethel would sneak her siblings’ paper and pencil and try to imitate the letters she saw her brothers and sisters writing. She was very excited when her older siblings taught her how to write her name!
Ethel’s aunt saw her deaf sister-in-law thrive at the IDEA Bohol Deaf Academy. Because of this, Ethel’s aunt helped persuade and encourage her mother to allow Ethel to attend a special school that could educate her with her disability. At nine years old, Ethel enrolled in a prep class at the IDEA Loon Special Education Center. During the orientation camp and the first day of class, Ethel’s eyes were glowing with excitement! Finally, she had the chance to attend school like her siblings.
Ethel is now in Grade 3 and is very eager to continue learning! She joined the school's poster making contest during the Nutrition Month celebration and got 2nd place! Ethel’s mother and step-father are working to better their situation. They are in the process of building a little house.
Above all, learning how to communicate with new friends has brought Ethel undeniable joy! Access to education and a healthy living environment has completely changed this little girl’s life for the better.
Published Tue, Oct 30, 2018. Written by .
Many times it is common for parents to feel overwhelmed when they discover their child is deaf. Even more so when they find out both of their children are deaf. Nemer and Renante, parents of two deaf children, were overwhelmed and feeling like they had done something wrong to deserve two children with this disability. As young parents, they discovered that their son and daughter, Charlie and Cheryl Mae, were both deaf.
Unable to completely immerse their children into their community, Nemer and Renante kept their children close to home. Charlie and Cheryl Mae did not attend school and had very little interaction with others because of their lack of hearing. Also, their parents wanted to keep them protected from any bullying or ridicule.
IDEA later discovered Charlie and Cheryl Mae when they were eleven and nine years old. IDEA makes a point to travel around the Philippines to find deaf children who need education and community. These trips IDEA staff complete annually help to reach areas that usually do not have any knowledge or access to IDEA or other opportunities for the deaf.
Charlie and Cheryl Mae were able to start preparatory classes together shortly after being brought to IDEA. They both excelled in school and participated in extracurricular activities with other deaf students. Their parents are so proud that their once excluded children are now graduates of an IDEA school with a community supporting them. They now both work at the Jagna Pension House & Garden Cafe, one of IDEA's businesses which were created to employ their graduates and help support the current children in school. Charlie and Cheryl Mae have also been growing in their relationship with God and accepted Him into their lives.
Charlie and Cheryl Mae’s story is one of many that IDEA has been blessed to be a part of. Because of our supporters and donors, Charlie, Cheryl Mae, and many other deaf children are able to be educated and immersed in a growing deaf community in the Philippines.
Published Wed, Oct 17, 2018. Written by .
Just 25 years ago there was no deaf community in Bohol. Even years after IDEA began bringing deaf children into school, a community for the deaf didn’t exist. IDEA continued to work towards creating a community for all deaf people in the area.
To have a group of people become a community, leadership is required to create a welcoming atmosphere. It took many years for the first deaf people who became involved to become old enough to assume their roles in leadership. Only then were we finally able to have the Bohol Deaf Community.
This community is now made up of perhaps 1000 people including spouses and children of the deaf. IDEA has assumed the role of helping develop the leadership for this community. There have been two main areas of this development effort. First, one has been to encourage the deaf toward independence. Second, to teach them to look towards the other members for support. It’s like the old saying, “All for One and One for All”.
The basic components that IDEA has built into this community are:
ANOTHER KIND OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
Everyone here at IDEA is continuing the work to cultivate a community that supports the deaf in the Philippines. We want to make sure every deaf person in the area is accepted as a part of the whole community. The education and training IDEA provides within this deaf community allows more deaf people to be immersed in the hearing community as well.
Published Tue, Oct 02, 2018. Written by .
On September 26th, the Bohol Deaf Academy kicked off their Intramural Games with a parade and cheer competition. The theme of this year’s games was Sustaining a Healthy Lifestyle Through Sports. The students were divided into 4 teams (green, red, blue, & purple).
On the first day of the games, they paraded around the school campus, did the lighting of the torch, pledge of sportsmanship, raised the team flags, and had the cheer dance competition. Day two consisted of many different games including: basketball, volleyball, table tennis, badminton, and more. On the final day of the games, the students participated in running events from the 100 meter dash to a relay race.
The students were awarded by individual event and one team won the overall prize! The green team outdid the other three teams to win the title of champion! There were various other awards for best sportswear, Mr. & Ms. photogenic, best production number, darling of the crowd, Mr. & Ms. congeniality, darling of social media, and best interview.
As you can see from the photos, the students thoroughly enjoyed themselves this year during the Intramural Games! The students worked hard not only in the games, but also to create their outfits and decorations to make it a memorable event!
Published Tue, Sep 18, 2018. Written by .
We are so excited to announce that Mandy Harvey will be performing and sharing her story at our Spring Fundraiser in March of 2019!
Mandy Harvey is an award-winning singer, songwriter, and inspirational speaker who lost her residual hearing at the age of nineteen. Mandy was born with near perfect pitch and with encouragement, she picked music back up and learned to trust her pitch with the help of visual tuners and by feeling the rhythm through vibrations to get her timing. By 2008, she was performing at jazz clubs all around Colorado.
Mandy tours the world performing her original music and presenting her inspirational story of never giving up and continuing to try – she calls these messages Wisdom For Life. She is best known as the 2017 America’s Got Talent Golden Buzzer winner! She wowed the audience with her original songs, each played on a Kala ukulele.
Not content to rest on her burgeoning recording career, her live performances, and her inspirational speaking, Mandy just released her first book titled; Sensing The Rhythm, Finding My Voice In a World Without Sound published by Howard Books/Simon & Schuster, with a message of helping others to realize their dreams and pursue their hopes. As an Ambassador for No Barriers USA, she travels the country to heighten awareness, break down blocks, challenge stereotypes, and lead the charge toward a brighter future for all.
Mandy will be gracing the Faith Chapel stage on March 22nd, 2019 at 7pm. You will hear a little bit about the mission of IDEA and also hear Mandy Harvey sing and share her story. All the proceeds of this fundraiser will go directly to IDEA in furthering our mission to provide education and vocational skills training to the deaf community in the Philippines.
Published Tue, Sep 04, 2018. Written by .
Summer Jobs for the Deaf
While many regular hearing students were looking forward to a summer of vacation and beach days, most of our high school students were busy seeking ways to make their summer productive.
IDEA strives to open doors for life skills and employment opportunities to our deaf students. This summer, we had 18 students working at our various Employment and Income Generating Projects (EIGP), Fifteen students also got the summer job slots at the Bohol Provincial Agriculture Department taking care of the seedlings at the plant nursery. The students surely got a dose of reality in the work environment as they learned how to establish good work ethics and manage their time and budget their money as well.
With such valuable skills, IDEA is positive that our students will be anticipating a much brighter future and become assets to society.
Taking the Road to a Hopeful Future
Covered in mud from the rice fields where she was playing, Michelle ran to the well to clean herself. Her mother came walking towards her with two other women. When they caught sight of her, Michelle began to feel anxious for no good reason. She quickly climbed up into a nearby tree and hid herself probably because of fear or shame. She didn’t want to face them until her mother convinced her to come down.
The two women accompanying her mother were teachers for the deaf who immediately began befriending her and tried to encourage her to come to school with simple gestures. Michelle’s eyes suddenly glowed as she connected the gestures to “writing” and “reading”. As the teachers continued to point to her, it suddenly clicked that they were telling her that she could go to school like her older siblings.
6 year old Michelle is one of the new found deaf children in Bohol, located when IDEA sent teachers once again to search for unschooled deaf children this summer. The teachers visit to their home was a ray of hope for her parents when they knew that their daughter could be helped.
Despite financial difficulties, her parents willingly brought her to school even if it meant they would only see her every other weekend. Michelle had never been away from her family before, but her parents were willing to endure missing her as they wanted the best for her. Her joy and excitement in class makes it a bit easier for her parents to leave her at the IDEA dormitory in the town of Talibon where she is safe and lived by IDEA’s dorm moms. She now has 57 new deaf brothers and sisters. Michelle is now definitely on the road to a future full of possibilities and hope.
Published Wed, Aug 22, 2018. Written by .
A roller coaster of emotions flooded Bohol Deaf Academy during the graduation day on the 28th of March, 2018. Francis Jake, one of the the 16 graduates, could hardly believe he had finished high school after all the trials and challenges he went through. His memory flashed back to the time when his mother was sobbing in front of him when she wanted to give up on him because of his bad behavior.
He remembered being kicked out of school for one year because of violating dorm policies. He worked as a laborer for that year to feed himself and help provide for his older deaf sister’s school allowance. It was then he realized he should finish his studies, find a better job, and be a good model to his younger siblings, especially his little sister who is also deaf.
Francis Jake’s recognition of his past mistakes led him to accept Jesus in his heart. He realized that our God of grace often gives us chances to be better even after we fall. With a fighting spirit, Francis Jake came to the IDEA office and humbly asked for a second chance to return to IDEA’s high school, Bohol Deaf Academy. He continued his studies and proved he was worth a second chance. He excelled in sports and did very well in his vocational classes especially in welding, carpentry, and cooking.
When he reached 10th grade, he had his on the job training as an assistant cook at the IDEA Cafe & Pension House in Jagna, his hometown. He did so well in his training and left a good impression with the manager that he was hired full time at the same restaurant right after graduation.
Francis Jake is a great asset to his family as he can now contribute financially to them. He and his family are indeed grateful for the wonderful opportunities IDEA is providing to the deaf like him. “I have so much to thank IDEA for, especially the second chance they gave me. I’ve learned the hard lessons in life that made me who I am now.” he expressed. Without education, Francis Jake could have been just a deaf street kid getting into trouble with the law. Instead, he is now a shining example to younger deaf kids about the importance of making the right choices and allowing Jesus to be his compass in life.
Published Mon, Aug 20, 2018. Written by .
Hugged by the Faithful Arms…
Mahatma Gandhi once said that the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. A team of 11 volunteers from Faith Chapel traveled all the way from Billings, Montana to the island of Bohol, Philippines, all with one thing in common - their compassion to help the deaf children.
They worked hand in hand with the students on repainting the dormitories at the Bohol Deaf Academy, did arts and crafts, and sewed new curtains. They also had a wonderful time playing games and sharing the love of Jesus during their evening fellowship. Some of them even had a precious moment meeting their sponsor children. The team not only did hard work, but also got to enjoy a countryside “barrio” tour where they got a glimpse of farm life. Before the volunteers flew back home , the BDA students showered them with the cards and hugs expressing how they cherished the time that the volunteers selflessly shared with them.
Thank you to the Faith Chapel team for making BDA a more beautiful home for the students and for planting God’s love on the deaf children’s heart!
Building The Dream
The dormitory for the deaf in Massin City, Southern Leyte and the classrooms that were especially built for the hearing impaired students are now renovated to their finest!i There are now a total of four bedrooms with new bunk beds for the kids. The renovation also comes with many more restrooms, showers, a larger living room, dining room, guest rooms, and office. The dorm and classroom walls all sparkle now with bright new paint. The old plain cement floors now gleam with new ceramic tiles. The newly renovated dorm is definitely glammed-up with total coziness and warmth. Big thanks to the R.C. Trust for funding this project! Our deaf students are so comfortable living in this wonderful place they call home!
Published Tue, Aug 07, 2018. Written by .
We are excited to announce that we now have an Etsy store! If you aren't familiar with Etsy, it is a shopping website where anyone can sell their custom designed, custom created, and unique items. Most stores on Etsy are for homemade products. We custom designed a few backpacks and put them up on Etsy to sell! Every penny goes directly to the Philippines to provide backpacks, school supplies, and fund the new bus. We are very excited to have this store up and running! We plan on adding more products in the future, so stay tuned!
BUY A BACKPACK, GIVE A BACKPACK
Getting ready for back to school? Well, let us help make your shopping easier! Here at IDEA, we are in need of 400 backpacks for our deaf students in the Philippines. One way you can help is by purchasing a backpack for the new school year on our Etsy store. For every backpack purchased, a backpack full of school supplies to a student at IDEA in the Philippines! So, you can get some of your back to school shopping done AND help a deaf child with their school year!
The medium size backpack is just what you need for daily use or sports activities! The pockets (including one for your laptop) give plenty of room for all your necessities, while the water-resistant material will protect them from the weather.
• Made from 100% polyester
• Dimensions: H 16⅞", W 12¼", D 3⅞"
• Water-resistant material
• Large inside pocket with a separate pocket for a 15” laptop, front pocket with a zipper, and a hidden pocket with zipper on the back of the bag
• Top zipper has 2 sliders, and there are zipper pullers attached to each slider
• Silky lining, piped inside hems, and a soft mesh back
• Padded ergonomic bag straps from polyester with plastic strap