Vancouver Foundation

Spring 2013

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Neighbourhood Small Grants Signs of p The Wood-Ranger family says "I love you" in sign language. The best-known sign in Deaf culture, the one for "I love you," was a big hit at a Surrey housing complex during a five-day workshop last summer. Posters and T-shirts were emblazoned with the gesture – one hand with the thumb, index finger and pinky finger pointing up, and the ring and middle fingers down, palm facing out – and the blending of the hand shapes for the letters I, L and Y for "I love you" embodied the attempt by a new family with several deaf members to connect with its hearing neighbours. The family of Kimberly Wood and Barry Ranger moved into the Bristol Estates housing complex in the Surrey neighbourhood of Whalley in late 2011. Wood and Ranger are both deaf. Their eldest son, Zak, 16, is also deaf. Their middle child, 12-year-old Zimar, can hear, and so can Zeva, his eight-year-old sister, but Zander, 10, has only partial hearing, and uses a hearing aid at school but not at home. Unfortunately, the family wasn't welcomed with open arms by the other residents of the small, low-income neighbourhood, who had no experience interacting with deaf people. "When we first moved in here, everyone was very cold, and not friendly," says Wood, telling her story in sign language, interpreted by her hearing son, Zimar. "The kids around the complex were mocking and bullying not just Zak, but all of my kids, for being different. It was very hard on us." Wood had moved her family to the Vancouver area from Edmonton so that her children could attend the BC Provincial School for the Deaf, located in Burnaby at South Slope Elementary and Burnaby South Secondary. "For Zak and Zander, it is important for them to be comfortable in a school environment where they can learn and thrive without being scared of ridicule from others." page 14 I Vancouver Foundation l Spring 2013 p14-15 Kim Wood.indd 14 13-05-22 12:59 PM

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