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Knowledge is Power

Collins Bay Institution

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Photo Credit: Whig Standard

The Employment Equity and Diversity Committee at Collins Bay Institution reached out to me to provide a workshop. I hosted two-part lunch and learn workshop series at the institution. I provided my expertise for the attendees with the basic skills needed to interact effectively and respectfully with culturally deaf people within their work environment and daily life.

I have never been to the institution, I have driven by it for 18 years and it was an interesting adventure. I went from front entry security through bunch of bars to outside yard to one of the range where the classrooms are held for inmates to learn and study. The attendees in my workshop are teachers, managements and program officers of the institution.

The first week I taught about the cultural overview including Deaf spectrum, Deaf culture, Interactions with a Deaf person & Etiquette; the do’s and don’t. I provided them insights of the Deaf person’s rights and I taught basic everyday Communication 101. The second week we focused on the reality of miscommunication of a Deaf person by others in the prison by either staff or inmates and the consequences that affect them. Deaf people have been tasered, given extended jail time and consequences for something that was not actually intended (not saying at this prison). I had samples of stories shared by paroles and media news to show how severe the issues are in prisons for Deaf people in Canada and USA. I then gave them a taste of how ASL parameters and ASL structure works. I introduced signs relating to the workplace and taught them vary ways they apply to persons and their environment

As I taught the attendees I saw their faces light up as they were understanding and making connections, that’s a BIG step in making positive changes for knowledge is power. I appreciate their motivation and questions. I hope to collaborate with them again!

I’d be happy to provide workshops that are adaptable to your working environment, feel free to reach out to me.

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