Sign Language learning event at Estrella Mountain Community College
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Sign Language learning event at Estrella Mountain Community College

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Guests Learn Sign Language Phrases At Estrella Mountain Community College's Deaf Deaf World Event In 2014. Photo Courtesy Of Estrella Mountain Community College

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from their point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it,” is a line from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, and a perfect way to explain the mission of the Deaf Deaf World event at Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC), one of the ten Maricopa Community Colleges.

On Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015, the Sign Language faculty in the EMCC Division of Modern Languages will present the 2nd annual Deaf Deaf World, a fun, interactive – and very quiet – experience to help participants learn and understand what it is like to live in a non-hearing world.

Sign Language learning event at Estrella Mountain Community College DeafDeafWorld2014Event

Guests learn sign language phrases at Estrella Mountain Community College’s Deaf Deaf World event in 2014. Photo courtesy of Estrella Mountain Community College

The event will be held in an Open House format from 9 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. in the Estrella Conference Center on the EMCC campus, located at 3000 N. Dysart Road in Avondale, AZ.

The event offers five ASL (American Sign Language) stations, each representing a routine-like errand that many of us take for granted, including making a withdrawal from a bank, scheduling a medical appointment, ordering a fast-food meal, arranging a trip and reporting a missing item to the police. ASL is the sole method of communication at the event, and no speaking is allowed.

First, guests will learn how to sign the station phrases by watching looped tutorial videos, along with the assistance of EMCC Sign Language students and faculty. Then, once the mini conversation is confidently learned, they “test” their newly learned phrase through mock mini-conversations with the ASL experts at each of the life-stations. The experience takes about 30 minutes to complete.

“This is a unique opportunity to experience life in an entirely deaf environment,” said Diane Stonebrink, EMCC Division Chair of Modern Languages. “Last year was our first year, and its success far exceeded our expectations. Everyone loved it, and walked away with a new perspective, which was exactly our goal.”

Video: Sign Language Announcement of the 2015 Deaf Deaf World event at Estrella Mountain Community College

Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ACDHH) will be at the event with volunteer assistants and a resource table.

The 2014 Deaf Deaf World event won the EMCC 2015 Diversity Award based on the overwhelming positive feedback from participants and increased enrollment in EMCC Sign Language classes. The event built awareness of the Deaf community and fostered the commitment in creating an inclusive and accessible campus culture.

For more information about this event, please contact Karen Harbin-Januzik, coordinator of marketing & public relations for Estrella Mountain Community College at and 623-935-8054.

Estrella Mountain Community College offers academic courses leading to associate degrees, university transfer, certificates and short-term job training to more than 14,000 students annually. The flagship campus is located on Thomas and Dysart Roads in Avondale and is home to the SouthWest Skill Center. The satellite campus, EMCC’s Buckeye Educational Center, is located in downtown Buckeye. Estrella Mountain is one of ten colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District, one of the largest community college districts in the nation. or