What a blast! The boys had such a fantastic time at our 1st Annual JDEP’s No Limitations Summer Jam. The goal was to have all three boys together to build friendship, social skills, communication skills, self-esteem, and to have fun as children. So we all went to Salt River in Clarendon to spend the day, swimming, with three amazing and talented young men.
Roshane and Richard are quiet and reserved, whereas Lolly is outgoing and we believe he does not allow his disability to stop him from doing whatever he wants to do. He talks and laughs to everyone whether they are deaf or not. Lolly will try to understand or at least smiles and pretends he does when someone is speaking to him, instead of giving a blank stare or getting frustrated. He also proved to be a great leader of our small group; he knew what was required of him and the others and made sure everything stayed in order. At first Richard was a bit hesitant in making friends or putting his head under water, while Roshane, who did not attend school before, didn’t speak or smile at anyone. Now Roshane and Richard saw Lolly’s behavior and started loosening up little by little. They realized that being deaf doesn’t mean…limitations.
The community responded well to us. The young man, who took our picture, did not just take one…he took five, because he wanted it to be just right. A young woman came up to the boys and signed because she studied sign language in the past and wanted us to feel welcome. The boys also ran into a friend from school and they all hang out for most of the day, except when it was time to jump off the rope into the water. The rope jumping was the main attraction for the day and Lolly, Roshane, and Richard loved it. By the time we were ready to leave Richard and Roshane were communicating with everyone.
I believe JDEP’s No Limitations Summer Jam accomplished what we set out to do; first was to get the boys to spend time together outside of school, because they do have something in common. We were particularly impressed with Roshane at how far along he’s come since starting school. Our second goal was to build friendship; this was their first summer together as a group, bonding as friends, and learning about each other. Third the boys had fun playing at Salt River with other children. They laughed, talked, signed, shouted, and had a blast! They even felt the beat of the music and the food was delicious! Have a look at the photos and you will see for yourself how much fun they had.
We want to take the time out to thank Janil for volunteering to take pictures at this event. Thank you very much.