Coffee night for deaf opens lines of communication

first_imgWhen Anjela Ford, 34, of Vancouver took a front end manager position at the New Seasons Market in Fisher’s Landing, she wanted to find a way the store could better serve Vancouver’s large deaf community.As a student of American Sign Language, Ford remembered practicing her language skills at a coffee night at a cafe in Beaverton, Ore. and decided to try out the concept at New Seasons. Ford isn’t deaf but was once aspired to be an American Sign Language interpreter.She launched the monthly Deaf Coffee Night in January at the grocery store at 2100B S.E. 164th Ave. Since then, the participant group has ballooned to up to 45 people at a time. The group meets from 5 to 7 p.m. the first Monday of each month.“Vancouver has a large deaf community so having this just makes sense,” Ford said.Participants are of all ages and backgrounds. Some are members of Clark County’s deaf community. There are about 16,000 people who are deaf or hard of hearing in the county, according to the Census Bureau. Many of them are alumni of the Washington School for the Deaf near downtown Vancouver. Other participants are hearing speakers of American Sign Language or students who want to practice their language skills and connect with the deaf community.The deaf community is close-knit, so much of the awareness about the coffee night has spread as a result of word of mouth, Ford said.last_img

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