Monday, June 23, 2014

Why Joyce Edmiston is an Inspiration to Me


Joyce Edmiston is the author of Xpressive Handz blog. Her writing and posts often include inspirational quotes.  Here are a few examples (of the many) that have encouraged me:
She really believes in these positive words. When I shared some personal dreams and my accompanying self-doubt and fear, she told me: You want more because God has more planned for you and your soul knows this. What an affirmation!

Recently Joyce took a personal risk when she insisted on equal communication access to a public event she wanted to attend. The organizers initially said no and offered her a free seat in the front row to placate her. But Joyce stood firm and rallied the support she needed to make them change their minds and offer CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) services. Joyce's advocacy and action will make the next deaf/hard of hearing person's CART request easier. 

You can make a difference in Joyce's life by voting for her to win the Oticon Focus on People Awards for Advocacy. Joyce needs a new pair of hearing aids. She has spelled out exactly why in her post I Never Leave Home Without My Hearing Aids. The hearing aids she owns now are 15 years old and worn out. She does not have the finances to replace them at this time. Receiving a new pair as part of the Oticon award would make a big difference in her daily life.

I have never met Joyce in person but am honored to say she has touched my life as an online friend. So much so that I nominated her for this award and am asking all of you to please vote for Joyce. Take a minute today and visit this link to read more Joyce's story and vote for her: http://www.oticonusa.com/about/people-first/focus-on-people/overview/joyce-edmiston.aspx 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Calendar Garden Revisited

Today I took time out of my busy schedule to spend a day in the country with my mother and two of our closest friends. We had perfect weather for our outing to DeFries Gardens in New Paris, Indiana. I had visited this lovely park known for its calendar garden four years ago and had been wanting to return ever since. You can view photos from that visit here.

The garden was as beautiful as I remembered. Today was extra special because to our surprise there was an art showing and musical entertainment. I enjoyed looking at the artwork on display and choosing my favorite. An art judging had already taken place, but the park was sponsoring a most popular category and encouraging each visitor to place a vote. I was entranced by two and was tickled to find when I looked in my information booklet that both pictures were by the same artist, Marj Miller. My choice was Morning Beauty, a painting of a morning glory, which you can see at the far right in the third photo from the bottom.

We had such a wonderful time here and having ice cream afterwards at South Side Diner in Goshen, Indiana. I will remember this day with pleasure for years to come. I hope you enjoy looking at these photos. You can learn more about DeFries Gardens at this website.

Friday, June 13, 2014

My Friend Joyce is an Oticon Focus on People Finalist!


Vote for Joyce Edmiston in the 2014 Focus on People Awards!
Vote Online at oticonusa.com now through July 15


Oticon, Inc. has narrowed this year’s finalists down to nine outstanding people with hearing loss who are helping to change negative stereotypes of what it means to have a hearing loss. Each is unique, remarkable and inspiring.  And we are pleased to announce that Joyce Edmiston has been chosen as a finalist in the Advocacy category!

Please help us recognize Joyce as one of the top finalists by casting your vote at oticonusa.com.

This is the 16th year that the Oticon Focus on People Awards has honored hearing impaired students, adults and advocacy volunteers who have demonstrated through their accomplishments that hearing loss does not limit a person’s ability to make a positive difference in the world.

We encourage you to read all of the stories from this year’s finalists.  Our goal is to help Oticon reach as many people as possible with the inspirational stories of the Focus on People Award finalists. 
Please share this email with your family, friends and anyone you think would enjoy reading about the accomplishments of some remarkable people with hearing loss who show that hearing loss does not limit a person’s ability to achieve, contribute and inspire.

And please encourage them to vote for Joyce!

Voting closes on July 15. Winners will be announced in August.

Advocacy Category Finalist Joyce Edmiston

As a child with hearing loss, Joyce Edmiston lost many opportunities to interact with other children in social and school activities. As a young adult, she recognized that “I missed out on friendships, meeting fascinating new people . . . I didn’t know how to explain my hearing loss or advocate for myself.” Over time, with encouragement from her husband, bloggers and Hearing Loss Association of America, she gained the courage and wisdom to make her voice heard in a hearing world. 

Today, Joyce freely shares her hard-won knowledge as a vocal advocate for people with all degrees of hearing loss. Through her popular blog Xpressive HandZ (http://xpressivehandz.blogspot.com/), Joyce provides a forum for discussion of a wide range of issues for people with hearing loss around the world.  

Her insightful, heartfelt postings aim to generate thought-provoking discussion that allows others to be “heard” as well.  All viewpoints, opinions and stories are welcome.  Joyce writes, “I love reading stories about deafened, hard of hearing, and Deaf people. . .  you’ll learn, you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll understand, and you'll relate.”

A scan of her posts reveals the scope of her efforts to encourage the teaching of ASL in schools, to inform the deaf and hard-of-hearing population of valuable, useful information, and to meet the communication needs of those who do not use sign language as their primary mode of communication. 

Though passionate about the teaching of American Sign Language (ASL), Joyce formed a committee to educate local churches the need to provide captioned services for those who do not communicate by sign language.  This same committee brought live captioning to the Giant Center in Hershey, PA for the first time.

Joyce volunteers with the Telecommunications Relay Service Advisory Board for the Pennsylvania PUC, the Collaborative for Communication via Captioning, and with HLAA at both local and state levels.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Captions Capture the Votes

Millions of people rely on captions. That number includes the deaf and hard of hearing and also those who use English as a second language. Captions give us equal access to communication. This is important when it comes to major decisions like who to elect to our government.

To address this issue, a nonprofit organization called CCAC (Collaborative for Communication Access via Captioning) is sponsoring a nonpartisan campaign in the United States. This campaign involves contacting candidates for political office and requesting that they add captioning to their online videos and make real-time captioning available for their live events. For candidates willing to do this, CCAC will post their names to a national list that will receive widespread distribution.

I am supporting CCAC's campaign as the state team leader for Illinois. Last night I sent out my first requests using candidates' Contact Us forms on their campaign websites. I was surprised to discover that I was unable to contact some of the Chicago representatives because my zip code fell outside their districts. [If anyone reading this is a resident of Chicago and would like to help me out, please contact me.]


Here is the sample email I am using to introduce myself to the candidates and explain the campaign.

Hi {Candidate’s First Name}, 

My name is Sarah, I’m an Illinois voter, and I want to tell you about an exciting non-partisan campaign to help candidates reach more voters and help voters understand candidates’ messages. This campaign called Captions Capture the Votes is about providing captioning for videos on the web and real-time captioning for live campaign events so you can expand your reach to the hard of hearing and deaf communities as well as those who use English as a second language. The organization I am affiliated with is called Collaborative for Communication Access via Captioning or CCAC for short. Their website link with more information about this campaign is http://ccacaptioning.org/captions-capture-the-votes/

CCAC will publish a listing, nationally, in wide networks, of candidates who are providing access for their 2014 campaigns with captioning. 


If you would like to be a part, please contact me. If you need help getting started with captioning, CCAC can give you a listing of service providers. 

Thanks,
Sarah Wegley, a volunteer citizen advocate for equal communication access



Readers, if you would like to join CCAC in this effort, contact the organization at CaptiontheVotes@CCACaptioning.org

To learn more, please visit  http://ccacaptioning.org/captions-capture-the-votes/  or their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Captions-Capture-the-Votes/610967952314071

See also CCAC founder Lauren Storck's guest post on my friend Joyce Edmiston's blog, Xpressive Handz
http://xpressivehandz.blogspot.com/2014/03/captions-capture-votes-by-lauren-storck.html