Rebecca Lane volunteered at the Jamaica Association for the Deaf Preschool and Sophie’s Place in Kingston, Jamaica for eight weeks through the organization World Endeavors. During her first placement, she was a classroom aid in the preschool. She helped manage the children, film progress evaluations, and plan events. However, majority of her time was spent working independently with three students with special needs such as cerebral palsy, autism, and/or blindness paired with deafness. Although it was a challenge to overcome the lack of resources and government funding, Rebecca loved to see the six year old boy, with cerebral palsy face, light up when he saw his walker because he knew he was going to learn to walk. Between her long walks and bus rides to the school, Rebecca really got a sense of the Deaf Community and how genuine and friendly they truly are as well as increased her signing abilities tremendously. The last two weeks Rebecca switched from J.A.D. to Mustard Seed Communities where she worked in an orphanage for individuals with physical and mental disabilities called Sophie’s Place. Of the 30 individuals that call Sophie’s place home, only two were verbal and four were able to walk. Rebecca’s responsibilities were to increase the signing abilities of a 13 year old girl as well as teach a few individuals who are nonverbal and their caregivers’ sign language. Through teaching sign language to the caregivers, Rebecca broke down a six-year old language barrier between the caregivers and the only girl who was deaf. That day was a very emotional one to say the least. Although her duties only required her to teach, Rebecca helped feed the individuals; she attended their mass even though she is not Catholic, and spent time with the individuals even though communication was limited. Rebecca had the opportunity to spend the summer in Montego Bay, a highly populated tourist part of Jamaica, but turned it down to live in the Uptown Kingston where she experienced the true essence of Jamaican life. Additionally, she toured the home that Bob Marley grew up in, she became a regular at Café Blue where she enjoyed some delicious Blue Mountain coffee, and she indulged in the World Famous Devon House ice cream. Throughout her experience, she learned a great deal not only about the Jamaican culture, but the Deaf culture as well, experienced the life, food, culture, religions, and people of Jamaica. It was definitely an experience that has changed her life for the better.
CEE Title: Music: The Universal Language
On November 14th, at 8 p.m. in Waynesburg University’s Alumni Hall, Rebecca Lane, Katie Shultz, and Gabby King came together to implement a kaleidoscope of music during their CEE Music: The Universal Language. It was a night to bring three different cultures together and teach the audience that there is not a person that cannot be touched by music. The first part of the event was centered on the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf and the Deaf Culture in relation to music. WPSD showed a music video of the students signing the song “Brave” by Sara Bareilles and seven students from the school performed “Roar” by Katy Perry live for the university and community. Then, they performed the National Anthem and taught the audience sections of the song. For the completion of their performances, they gave insight on themselves, the Deaf Culture, and the importance of music. To share New Zealand music, Katie Shultz sang a song in the language of Te Reo. With her guitarist Adam Tapparo, she led a tutorial on the song “He Manawa Titi” which is from the play production Te Tira Puha that she helped managed while abroad. Her voice was magnificent and the audience was highly engaged. Towards the end the night, Gabby King recruited Mariah Beauregard and Lauren Alexander to help teach the audience about the aboriginal dances of Australia to the sound of a didgeridoo. Before the audience got up to enjoy Jamaican coffee and Australian/New Zealand TimTam cookies, we opened the floor to any questions pondering in the audience’s minds. During the conclusion, we hit home the idea of fine arts in education and how music truly is universal. It can connect people from different cultures and create more value in the music the audiences already listens to. Ultimately, it was a night of performance and tutorials that served a great purpose of instilling an important message that music can reach anyone from New Zealand to Jamaica, from the hearing world to the Deaf Culture, music is powerful and universal.