Sunday, September 22, 2013

Summer of Service

While some of us were off enjoying some summer fun, many Junior League of San Antonio women were actively giving back to their community. 

The projects for this summer's SA works (our community service outreach program) ranged from assisting in deep cleaning Seaton Home to cooking for participants at the Children's Bereavement Center. Women of the league pulled up their gloves, and put on their aprons to get down and dirty. Giving to the community is at the center of this organizations core values. 

Sitting in our time traveling machine, we have made our way to the 1940’s. Before you read this next blog entry I want your to sit back and grab a near by tissue- trust me, you’re going to need it.
            The Sunshine Cottage, School for the deaf is another outreach program that we serve. In fact our Junior League ancestors ESTABLISHED IT! 

            This program excited me to my very core. Being a teacher, working with special needs children hits REALLY close to home. I can still remember visiting the Sunshine Cottage on my new member tour. Visiting the classrooms, I was surprised by the state of art technology the classrooms had to offer. 
        I guess when I think about  a child with hearing impairments, I automatically place them into a foreign language category since I assumed these children will only learn sign language. However, while learning about their facility and the great job their teachers are doing, I learned their children are very similar to MY students! Watching this video entitled "Children Learning to Read" you can see that their morning message is similar to regular education children. They learn the sounds of letters, how to read them, and how to pronounce them. 
            How the school came to be- In 1944 Tuletta White was born to John and Dela White. 

 After learning that  their child was born deaf, the parents struggled to cope. They looked at schools for children similar to their own. The closest school was the “Tracy Clinic” in Los Angeles, California.  The Whiltes were excited that they had other parents to collborate with, but the thought of sending their child to a different state sent them looking for different options.
 That is when Mrs. White turned to the organization she was apart of and believed in, the  Junior League of San Antonio.  In 1946 the league voted to fund $4,500 (which would calculate to $ 52,213 in today economy).
Mrs. White worked hard to obtain a building to house the school in. She was able to acquire a caretakers house near the Landa Library. Free yellow paint was given to accepting volunteers, and soon a yellow school house was complete.
  In the summer of 1944 the first class of 7 preschoolers, including Tuletta,  received instruction from Miss Mark Kay Van Wyk.

Since its debut, the school has outgrown 2 buildings and now resides off Hildebrand Ave. the school serves Preschool-5th grade.  The school is “…accredited by  Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement, OPTIONSchools International, and is a Texas Education Agency Approved non-public school. The school provides  the newest and best hearing technology.” When I was able to tour the school, I was fascinated by the amount of technology the teachers had available to their children. The school prides itself in helping children become an active part in the hearing world. This includes education on how to speak using intelligible speech, not sign language. Don’t you get the warm fuzzies thinking the Junior League of San Antonio helped get this school up and running?