Blog Donate

Tag Archives: Deaf education

a happy little family

September 29th, 2018

Every weekend, when I have a little time to sit quietly, I stop to look back to recent days and reflect on what’s been happening. This week, I’ve been so thankful for the little family we have here at CSCD. Mizael is now the older brother to our young Diego and even younger Natalia.  Glenda and Mike Coupe, Valie, and I are the elders- watching over, teaching, guiding – our young charges.  Larimar is the older sister – a little above the children, keeping herself distant, not to be too annoyed by the little ones.

Teaching a little Deaf child takes so many hands. While one plays with the littlest, another is needed to insert the language of the activity.  In the above photo, you wee Glenda swinging with Natalia while Mizael tells Natalia about her experience. I love the way our age groups work together naturally to create a linguistic environment in which language is accessible to everyone. Of course, it takes time.

Diego still needs to be reminded to “use your hands to talk.” But he is more often signing and trying to make his thoughts known to the signing/Deaf people around him. He is also becoming more alert visually – using his eyes to take in what his ears are missing, using his creativity to come up with signs when he doesn’t know one, using his Spanish vocabulary to explain new ideas for which he is lacking words… it’s an amazing honor to be a part of this little boy’s learning.

Thank you for your prayers for our school and thank you for continuing to support us with your boxtops for education, your goodsearch.com support and your prayers.

15 school days into the 2018-2019 session

August 31st, 2018

This year, we have three students every morning.  Two are doing High School work and we are thankful to have English and Math volunteers working with them.  Our English tutor meets with the students two hours each week by Facetime while our Math tutor walks into the classroom when he has time free to do so. We are thankful for the ways God provides for morning assistance so that our principal, Betsy Hoke can work with our new 6 year-old student who is learning the alphabet, learning to sit in class, learning to ask before taking or doing things, learning to use his hands to communicate, learning so many life skills!

Pray for teachers as Diego (6) and the two older students all need full time teachers to be present in their learning times. We also have a little 18 month old girl who we would love to have full time – again the need of someone to be her guide and language model through the day is holding us back.

In our next blog entry, I will introduce you to our missionary staff for this school year. Busy busy busy days prevent me from getting the photos I want to post!

Next Friday, September 7 is Deaf Social Night – come if you are able and join in games and fun with us!

Day 3 of the 2018-2019 school year

August 13th, 2018

The work continues – for the visiting team, they are pushing to get things DONE now that their work days are down to 3 days. Tammi Wolfe is doing things in the chapel to help out the school year while Joe Landis continues to weld in the carport.  And yes, we hang out the clothes the old-fashioned way. After more than a week here, everyone is in need of something being washed – even if it’s just to prevent the dorm rooms from becoming too scented by sweaty clothes.

Hayley and Shanna started a rhythm group today while the gentlemen started to put the panels on the carport.  Just a few minutes ago it rained quite hard so I am guessing the men on the roof were pushed to take a break.  God knows when they NEED to stop to prevent them from overdoing it.

Annette has been presenting some really good lessons in the morning chapel time.  We are thankful for her hard work in preparing – very different than for a hearing class.  OOPS  there is that rhythm photo again! Pray for Betsy’s attention deficit – she has a cold/cough this week and the medication is not helping her to focus!

Lastly, the older students are spending time with Danny Vidal, former student who graduated in May 1986 from ESD.  Danny has been on a recent mission trip to a Deaf church in Portugal and the students are learning some Portuguese signs and about life after high school… maybe one or both of them will catch the vision of serving God as missionaries or at least serving God in their local churches.

Pray for all of these and all else that God puts on your heart for our school.  Without your prayers and support, we would be struggling.  WITH your prayers and support, we are praising God and strengthened for more again tomorrow.

Back to School!

August 10th, 2018

We had a soft opening this year with a new 6-year-old student coming on Monday and a trial run for an 18-month-old student on Wednesday.  The full compliment of students arrived on Thursday.

How fun to have a Calvary Bible Church-HanoverPA work team here with us.  As the tough guys work in the carport roof rebuild the rest are working on gardening, nurturing students, and creating meals for everyone.

It’s been a great week and we are SO THANKFUL to God for His provision at this time of Back to School!

We look forward to a great school year and many more happy photos to share the work that God is doing here.

To read more about the work team, click here!

April 2018

April 10th, 2018

For more photos, visit our Facebook page.

Today is Tuesday April 9, 2018.

This week, there is only one student in the classroom, and she is not feeling well so we are taking some time to have water and mint tea and rest. Our other student is presently on a vacation with his family.  Pray for our students and their families–

  • pray for their health
  • pray for their vehicles
  • pray for their jobs
  • pray for their children and the special needs of the deaf child in particular
  • pray for their desire to know and serve God.

Pray for our witness to them as we come alongside and pray for them, talk with them, encourage them, cry with them, share God’s love with them.

In the pictures above:

  1. a digger was doing some work removing debris in the parking area across from the school.  We asked if he could move this tree trunk for us and he did. In exchange, we provided housing for the digger for two nights 🙂
  2. the sky has been so blue and clear. We are having the Spring dryness that precedes the wet weeks of May.  In May we tend to have some flooding… nothing spectacular but with so many people still living with blue tarp roofs, I know we could use less rain.  Though the plants are wanting more rain.  Thank God that HE KNOWS and in His sovereignty, He will provide.
  3. First Friday Fun!  The first Friday evening of every month, we have a games and fellowship night for the Deaf and those interested in practicing sign language.  This month our regular group of attendees showed up and we rejoiced with those that have had their power restored recently.

Continue to pray for Puerto Rico as we approach Hurricane Season 2018 and continue to recover from Hurricane Season 2017. It’s been a rough ride and God has been our Provider of grace in time of need.

Pray with us about:

  • the need for teachers so that we can take in new students
  • the need for workers so that we can reach out to families around the island – with home Bible studies, friendship, discipleship
  • the need for workers so that we can begin a Literacy Course for Deaf Adults.
  • the need for workers to help begin Adult Education Classes for the Deaf (plus provide child care)

The needs may seem small but for the isolated community of Deaf persons spread about Puerto Rico, the loneliness and lack of support is huge.  Pray with us as we seek to be God’s Hands to this community.

Back to school in 2018

January 20th, 2018

We returned to the CLASSROOM on January 8 2018 after a 2 week Christmas+Holidays Break.

In November and December, we were using the back of the chapel as our classroom due to the absence of electricity and the FEMA generator powering the classroom and chapel. It was a lovely change for us (rather than working in the dark or running a smaller generator to get some lights in the classroom) but it’s good to be back in the classroom at last.

We were able to get things running more normally again by purchasing a solar energy system for the classroom building. We were only able to do that because of YOU who sent donations to help us in our time of need. As we are still without electricity from the street, we are SO thankful for solar energy and how it has enabled us to continue our work.

Our telephone landline and our internet cable are still coiled and dangling in front of the school dining room entrance which is in need of replacement or repairs (a carpenter will know what is needed there) so we are again thankful for the FEMA and SPRINT response of satellite internet for the Deaf community to have a communications alternative.

This semester so far has had a Home Ec focus as the students pitch in daily for Make Your Meals. Friday afternoons we have spent time with visitors practicing social skills, communication skills and hospitality skills (oh do I have some blogs to write!). It’s been a good return to learning and we look forward to more cooking and sharing.

Yesterday, we ate a salad made entirely by Edgar and had birthday cake made entirely by Larimar.  We also had spaghetti and we served it to our returned snow bird Philip and his new wife Norma Elena, our Deaf friends Lourdes and Chris, Deborah and her family visiting for the moment and our daily helpers Valie and Jerry. Edgar was surprised when he was asked to SERVE the cake, not just eat it.  WHAT ABOUT ME? he asked.  He was told, FIRST HELP LAST EAT.  He did. It is never too early to teach children that service with a smile is a good rule of life.

While we waited for our guest of honor to arrive and after lunch also, we played some card games. So interesting to watch as students and visitors play together. At one time, Edgar said, THAT LITTLE GIRL KNOWS SIGN LANGUAGE I said, “Yes, her mom is Deaf and so she talks to her mom.”

He looked at the mom. I said, “You and she are both Deaf.  Both talk with hands not with voice.” She smiled at him and said, “Yes I am Deaf. My children sign to me. You are Deaf, you sign too.”

All kinds of learning are happening.

Thanks for your prayers as we continue to generate power and as we continue to learn more about ourselves and our Almighty God!

ye faithful

December 24th, 2017

As I sit here in the school chapel, with two dogs snoozing on the platform and the generator purring around the corner, I am contemplating Christmas Eves of the past…

  • snowy ones as a kid in Pennsylvania
  • warm ones as I came to be at home here
  • packing and cleaning ones when I realized that Christmas DAY flights are a little cheaper
  • content ones as I learned to enjoy whatever place I was in and to be content
  • discontent ones as I wanted to be where I was not
  • sad ones as I became reminiscent over deaths during the past year and who was missing
  • happy ones as I enjoyed the antics of new little relatives or friends’ babies

Today, I am of mixed emotions. Our hurricanes of September still effect us today – hence the generator purring in the background.  My gift bag is packed and I am contentedly digesting the church’s Christmas lunch and mentally processing the  evening’s possible foods at the Christmas Eve party I will be attending.

I am a little on the melancholy side thinking of

  • Students who left in the past year, in the past month, who were not here on Friday for our end of the year luncheon,
  • Staff who left and relocated in the past year,
  • Huge blessings of YE FAITHFUL who have prayed for us through this year, these YEARS, these hurricane recovery times…
  • God’s wisdom, goodness, and infinite love and peace to hold up this ministry through the recent economic tough times and hurricane recovery times…

As I think of YE FAITHFUL – I know there are readers whose relationship to the school precedes mine and I’ve been around 33 years. I think of YE FAITHFUL who have prayed and cared for this ministry since 1957. I think of YE FAITHFUL who were praying for Deaf ministries before that! I think of YE FAITHFUL who have responded to hearing about a hurricane by sending supplies and money for more supplies and calling to volunteer your hands and sweat to work with us.

I think of YE new FAITHFUL who are praying TODAY about serving God and about when and about where. Here’s the challenge: we need YE new FAITHFUL for the next thing God is doing here.

  • We need teachers who will come and stay and teach Deaf adults Spanish literacy skills and disciple Deaf young people for our Saviour;
  • We need support workers who will maintain the grounds and vehicles and buildings so that the others can do the discipleship work;
  • We need YE new FAITHFUL to build a team that is united in the vision of seeing Deaf Youth and Adults grow in Christ.

As I think of the song, O COME ALL YE FAITHFUL… Well, is it YOU who God is calling to come here?  And what has kept you from responding? Is now the time to send that e-mail (emhoke@cscdluquillo.com) or make the contact (well, other means are so less reliable these days so stick to e-mail for now? or snail mail HC-01 Box 7111, Luquillo PR 00773).

I am SO thankful for YE FAITHFUL and praising God already for His work to bring in the YE new FAITHFUL who will carry this work into the next 60 years (because our first documents are dated 1957 so that was the first 60 years.) God is preparing this property for YE new FAITHFUL who will be coming.  Kind of like John the Baptizer preparing the way for Jesus’ ministry years. The preparations are happening, now, who is coming to carry on the work?

That’s my Christmas Eve 2017 pondering. Pray with us for YE new FAITHFUL ones and their coming.

Excited to see what God does with us, through us and around us in the coming weeks, I am your servant and the school director, Betsy Hoke

approaching Christmas

December 4th, 2017

Christmas is a time for JOY!

Our island is regaining GREEN as trees and plants regrow their leaves. The streets and school grounds still bear the scars of the hurricanes from September.  Our electricity is reliable – because we are on a large generator supplied by FEMA with daily deliveries of diesel. We have moved our classes to the school chapel which is powered by the FEMA generator (the classroom is on a small generator for which we buy the gas and oil and take care of maintenance).

With all of that still happening around us, we are trying to embrace CHRISTmas – the celebration of Christ’s incarnation, the promised Saviour born to a virgin at last has come! I say TRYING because, with all that was happening in September and October, as a teacher, I got behind in my planning ahead for Christmas. I failed to order supplies for Christmas crafts and activities.  I have been otherwise occupied with LIFE such that I was not thinking into November and December.

But God, in His goodness, provided through YOU who sent and are sending parcels of supplies.  Suddenly, when someone asked, I thought, “Please send some Christmas crafts for the students. I have nothing planned.  I lost a few months!”

And so the Christmas craft supply boxes have arrived from Wisconsin and Florida and Maine just to name a few.  We started last week by putting a few Christmas lights in the school chapel to brighten our days.  (We have solar powered Christmas lights outside for our evening enjoyment. And some friends have sent more so that the students can take home some solar powered lights for their homes!)

The students and visitors are enjoying making origami stars, candle holders, wee Christmas trees and various painted decorations. TWO people sent us JOY ornaments (see above).  I think God is reminding us that even with the changes we have experienced and continue to live with, His JOY is always available.  With Nehemiah, we can say:

the joy of the Lord is our strength.

Student Author: Larimar

October 26th, 2017

Larimar wrote this in English class today as we were practicing the verbs JUGGLE, JOT, JUMP, JOIN, JOKE  and JEER:

In the morning, the man jumps up from the bed. He goes to the bathroom and he sees his face in the mirror and then he washes his face in the bathroom.

Next, he will have a new job and he will try to join the job as a writer. He will jot smartly.  And he will have a lot to juggle as a writer.

So one night, the writers told him, “Hey, we were writers so now you are the new writer?”

He said, “Yes, I am the new writer.”

Then the writers tried to joke with him about being the new writer. They said, “Will you come with s to go for beer?”

He said, “No. I am not going to drink beer and I am a Christian and I am the follower of God.”

So the writers laughed and jeered at him.  But he knew they are not good writers for the people.  He knew he will tell people about God’s love for them and that God is with you.

The End

hurricane Irma closes CSCD for the week of 5 September

September 5th, 2017

Three weeks into the school year and we have a MAJOR HOLIDAY on our hands.  What was to be long weekend for Labor Day has become a longer break due to Hurricane Irma.

Predictions include 175 mph sustained winds and the word “catastrophe” is being used a lot. At least our students don’t KNOW the word CATASTROPHE yet.  (what a teachable moment we are having without them here – booo) They are looking forward to life without electricity so they can see the stars better! That made me smile when a student told me that!

Other predictions include not having electricity restored to the entire island for 4 to 8 months. We normally have 40 days without electricity.  Hopefully that will be the norm again this time.  Asking the parents, they all agree that school can happen in the cool of the dark classroom and that life without iPads can happen.

We hope to be in class again on Monday morning, September 11, 2017.  Betsy, our main teacher, is preparing lessons which rely on BOOKS and PAPER rather than electronic devices.

Thanks for your prayers.

Since some have asked, our link for donations for hurricane relief is HERE.  Or at the top right corner of this page where the word DONATE resides.  Our policy is to use your gifts first for repairs at the SCHOOL and if there are designated hurricane relief funds above those needs, we will pass those donations on to student families or neighbors of the school or other Deaf families in need of financial aid.  Sometimes, we will make the purchases for the families in need so that we can KNOW the money is being used for THAT purpose and not for other things.  You understand.  Anyway, if you want to help, that’s the easy way.  A little harder, you write a check and mail it.  Scroll down on that page for the mailing address.

Of course, you can always just send a letter.  The mail box is a huge encourager when the electronic mail box is inaccessible.

We hope to update you as soon as electricity is restored.  If that’s in a week or a month… then it will happen.  Of course, we can always go to an access point that HAS electricity even when our campus out in the country still is without that blessing.

Thanks for your prayers for our safety and for our students’ and friends’ safety as well.