Founding Story: Share a story about a key experience or spark that helps the network understand why this project got started or a story about how you became inspired about the potential for this project to succeed.
Most people are unaware of the issues that Deaf children face. Only 25% of their parents know enough American Sign Language to carry a conversation and because they are bussed to a central school with a DHH Program, there aren’t any friends in their neighborhood who can speak their language either. Students have told me that they've hit some balls w/ hearing family and friends. Many years from now, tennis will be an activity they can use to bond with their own children and grandchildren.
Which categories describe you? (the answer will not be public)
White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French, Caucasian)
Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [State]
Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [City]
Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [State]
Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [City]
Loos Angeles and Orange Counties
Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?
Sports participation provides important benefits to all students particularly those with disabilities. However, these activities for DHH students are practically non-existent in America. Tennis a perfect activity for the DHH because there are no buzzers, bells, or whistles. However, because of communication challenges, money, and a lack of skilled instructors, they will never be a demographic group which will targeted by the tennis industry.
Co-founders Tom Baxted and Roy Trafalski with happy DhhEAF students and family members. Surveys revealed that our classes created fun, fond memories, a positive attitude and life-long skills that may last forever. We stimulate their minds with thinking / learning, their spirit by building self-esteem, and their bodies with physical activity. We instill an individual ethos that can give them inspiration and self-confidence when they are faced with academic, as well as personal, challenges.
In the history of the sport, DhhEAF is the only program of its kind which teaches life's lessons to hearing impaired youth through tennis.
Is your model focused on any of the following traditionally underserved communities?
Children who are differently abled
Does your model work within any of the following sectors?
Established (the solution has passed the previous stages, and has demonstrated success)
Example: Walk the network through a specific example of what happens when a person or group engages with your solution.
It's explained that the students need to complete their schoolwork and maintain good behavior or else they don’t play. Our DhhEAF classes are presented in a way that uniquely affords teaching and learning opportunities. With guidance, our students realize the satisfaction of learning and gain self-confidence with new skills. And our Program transcends sport. Rather than trophies, DhhEAF's goals include academic gains, self-esteem enhancement, and improved behavior. Based on improvement, sportsmanship, or a good effort, sometimes a Day's Champion is selected and recognized. Simulating a proper grip, we end each class with a firm handshake and direct eye contact to demonstrate self-confidence, friendship and trust.
Impact: What was the impact of your work last year? Please also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.
Why does everyone think that our DhhEAF Program is a great idea that deserves consideration for grant support? Because it IS a great idea! And because we uniquely have the knowledge, skills and experience to validate reaching additional DHH children. We are motivated by our students’ enthusiasm as well as a dearth of programs designed to serve their special needs. We have hope and an idea that our Program is available to every DHH child in the country someday.
$100k - $250k
Financial Sustainability Plan: What is your solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?
We DO realize the privilege of making a difference in this world thanks to the generosity of our supporters (mainly private Foundations). Their support helps us to nurture our students which can lead to success in other aspects of their lives. Every gift is greatly appreciated & we view each one as another validation of our Program. We should be a candidate for government funding. DhhEAF is an approved project of Community Partners 95-4302067
Unique Value Proposition: How else is this problem being addressed? Are there other organizations working in the same field, and how does your project differ from these other approaches?
Between 2004-20012, Roy Trafalski volunteered on the USTA Adaptive Tennis Committee and can confirm that we are the only Program of its kind, ever. Because of communication challenges, money, and a lack of skilled instructors, the DHH will never be a demographic group which will be targeted by the tennis industry. Current lessons are not affordable because most of our students are from low income families, who are also of Hispanic heritage.
Reflect on the Field and its Future: Stepping outside of your project, what do you see as the most important or promising shifts that can advance children’s wellbeing?
From one day to the next, I believe empathy for one another's individual challenges can play a big role in understanding one another, developing friendships, and establishing trust.
Source: How did you hear about the Children’s Wellbeing Challenge? (the answer will not be public)