965 108th St SW
Byron Center, MI 49315
Cell: 616-262-3516

We now have reprints of four of the previous Deaf Awareness Posters. Contact me if you wish to have posters, etc.

American Manual Alphabet: This poster is one that we did not have to reprint. This poster could be used in schools, churches, libraries, Grange Halls or anywhere that people come in contact with deaf or hearing impaired people. For example, our Grange delivered Dictionaries to a third grade classroom, along with Deaf Awareness items (one being the Manual Alphabet poster) and in one of the thank you’s we received, one of the students had learned the alphabet. Another third grade teacher had her students do their spelling words in sign language. There are many possibilities with this.

Your Noisy World Could Get Silent: This poster is a chart that shows the potential hearing hazard of the loudness of sounds combined with the length of exposure to sound and how it can create a permanent hearing loss. Preventions are suggested on this poster. It shows the decibels of many electronic devices that we are in contact with everyday.

Pledge of Allegiance: This poster could be placed in schools, Grange Halls, libraries, etc. An idea that can be used is to do parts of it at each of your Grange meetings until everyone can sign it.
Do You See the Signs: (of hearing loss) This poster could be placed in church nurseries, day care centers, pre-schools or wherever adults can view them. It is a poster to make parents aware of what an infant to 12 months should be able to do, from 12 months to 2 years, from 2 years to 4 years and 5 years old.

Grange Deaf Awareness: Awareness – communication is key to qualify of life – hearing loss is permanent- early detection and treatment is essential, etc. Education – educate the public with printed material, video programs, classroom instruction, special equipment, information, programs. Prevention- hearing protections used, hearing testing, newborn hearing screening, personal education.


This is going to be a really different article from me this issue.  Usually you see pictures of the students at the Christmas party at the Michigan School for the Deaf in the Adopt-a-Child Program “listening” to a Christmas story interpreted for the students and the Grange guests. They would have pizza and all the goodies for them. They would then be really excited about the presents that were wrapped for them by Grangers. What a great experience it was to see this.  Pictures were taken of all the students and the activities they had at that time and published in the Michigan Grange News. I really missed doing this for the students. In some cases, this was about all the gifts these students received for Christmas. Hopefully we will be able to return doing this at Christmas time next year.

​I have checked with Susanne Middlewood, my 
contact person at the school as to when the students would possibly return to school and I am sure they would like to be back. I will also check with her to see if there would be something we could do for the teachers and students at that time. At this time I have not heard from her so hopefully I can have this information in my next Deaf Awareness Bulletin.

​You wish me a “Happy New Year” as a toast
 And a hearty good wish it appears;
But when you perceive I’m as deaf as a post,
 You should wish me “two happy new ears”.
I wish each of you and your families a Happy and Healthy New Year!

You Have to be deaf to understand the deaf
What is it like to "hear" a hand?
 You have to be deaf to understand.
What is it like to be a small child,
 In a school, in a room void of sound --
With a teacher who talks and talks and talks;
 And then when she does come around to you,
She expects you to know what she's said?
 You have to be deaf to understand.
Or the teacher thinks that to make you smart,
 You must first learn how to talk with your voice;
So mumbo-jumbo with hands on your face
 For hours and hours without patience or end,
Until out comes a faint resembling sound?
 You have to be deaf to understand.
What is it like to be curious,
 To thirst for knowledge you can call your own,
With an inner desire that's set on fire --
 And you ask a brother, sister, or friend
Who looks in answer and says, "Never Mind"?
 You have to be deaf to understand.
What it is like in a corner to stand,
 Though there's nothing you've done really wrong,
Other than try to make use of your hands
 To a silent peer to communicate
A thought that comes to your mind all at once?
 You have to be deaf to understand.
What is it like to be shouted at
 When one thinks that will help you to hear;
Or misunderstand the words of a friend
 Who is trying to make a joke clear,
And you don't get the point because he's failed?
 You have to be deaf to understand.
What is it like to be laughed in the face
 When you try to repeat what is said;
Just to make sure that you've understood,
 And you find that the words were misread--
And you want to cry out, "Please help me, friend"?
 You have to be deaf to understand.
What is it like to have to depend
 Upon one who can hear to phone a friend;
Or place a call to a business firm
 And be forced to share what's personal, and,
Then find that your message wasn't made clear?
 You have to be deaf to understand.
What is it like to be deaf and alone
 In the company of those who can hear --
And you only guess as you go along,​
For no one's there with a helping hand,
As you try to keep up with words and song?
 You have to be deaf to understand.
What is it like on the road of life
 To meet with a stranger who opens his mouth --
And speaks out a line at a rapid pace;
 And you can't understand the look in his face
Because it is new and you're lost in the race?
 You have to be deaf to understand.
What is it like to comprehend
 Some nimble fingers that paint the scene,
And make you smile and feel serene,
 With the "spoken word" of the moving hand
That makes you part of the word at large?
 You have to be deaf to understand.
 What is it like to "hear" a hand?
 Yes, you have to be deaf to understand.

​Written by Willard J. Madsen,
Professor of Journalism, Gallaudet University​

Where has this year gone? I sure hope 2021 is a  much better year! We have had a busy year but many things have happened,  I would like to thank the following Granges and Grangers for their donations to the Deaf Awareness Fund. The donations were sent from Fern Grange #803, St.Joseph/Cass/Kalamazoo Pomona #4, Studley Grange #1174, Burns Grange #160, Mosherville Grange #1351, Home Grange #129, Mid Michigan Pomona #61, Gratiot Grange #1898, Kinney Grange #754 and Kenneth Becker. As there were changes this year due to Covid 19 the scholarship was not presented to a graduating senior at the Michigan School for the Deaf this year. In contacting the school I got no response and later found out that the school has been closed since March. Hopefully next year will be different. We did send $200.00 to the Alexander Graham Bell Summer Camp Fund, however, their camps were cancelled this summer so the money will go support next year’s camp. 
I’m happy to report that we did have the Adopt-a-Child at Christmastime last year, The following  Granges and Grangers that supported a child were the Libbey family (2 students), Peggy Johnston, Dale Moore and Sharon Popler, Burns Grange #160 (2 students), Gratiot Grange #1878, Community Grange #1675, Kinney Grange #754, Carlisle Grange #812, Oceana Center Grange #1047, Mid Michigan Pomona #61, Barnard Grange #689, Plymouth/ Westland Grange #389 (2 students), North Adrian Grange, #721, Burr Oak #1350, Rome Grange #293, Fredonia Grange #1713, Marshall and Jackie Bishop, Phil and Luanna Swainston, Studley Grange #1174 , West Oshtemo Grange #1630, Ted and Helen Mudd and Trisha Eidsmoe, St. Joseph/Cass/ Kalamazoo Pomona #4 and Mosherville Grange #1351. We will not be having the Adopt-a-Child this year. I mentioned that the school has been closed since March and the students are at home. When I talked to Susanne Middlewood, the one I am in contact with also told me the students will not be in session until possibly at least by January 22, 2021. If the students are back in school at that time we could see if there was anything they may need at that time. I will keep everyone posted. Thanks to everyone who supports this program. 
Our “big project” was a result of being awarded one of the two grants from the National Grange Foundation. Our project was to send two posters (the American Manual Alphabet and the Pledge of Allegiance) to every school district in the state of Michigan. The total number of envelopes sent out was 647. I want to thank those who had a part in this project. Thanks to Peggy Johnston for helping with the application, purchasing materials, putting stamps on the envelopes, etc. Also to Sharon Popler, Arnette Welsh, Dale Moore and Phil Swainston for helping us prepare the envelopes, putting the posters and other information in the envelopes and labeling them. We are hoping this makes an impact on the deaf awareness in the state of Michigan. The posters are free to the teachers with them only paying for postage. 
Thanks to everyone who bought raffle tickets on  the Manual Alphabet Quilt that was raffled off at the Michigan State Grange this year. The money earned  will also help us with our “project”. The winner was Maria Lopez! Congratulations! 
As 2020 ends I hope everything will be better in  2021. Merry Christmas to you and your families and the best of the New Year!