00:00 AM - May 12, 2017
The El Dorado County Office of Education (EDCOE) Special Services team hosted a lively ice cream social for families with deaf or hard of hearing students, on May 1. Children and families networked with each other, met with members of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing EDCOE team, and were provided with information regarding resources to help them in the future. The ice cream was enjoyed by all while students participated in various activities such as crafts, bubbles and games. Amy Andersen is the EDCOE Executive Director of Special Services and noted, “It is important that children with hearing disabilities and their families communicate and connect with one another. We created this supportive community for our families to enhance communication opportunities and strengthen our existing resources.”
DeIrene Tschida, the EDCOE deaf/hard of hearing itinerant teacher, organized this parent community as a central hub for families last year. This year, the event grew to dozens of educators, students, families, and even some supportive friends. “Thank you all for coming to our 2nd Annual Ice Cream Social,” she noted while welcoming attendees. “It’s important for us to continue strengthening this network, so you may have better access to the resources that are available to you. Thank you for coming and enjoy the activities!”
One student who not only attended the social, but volunteered her time to help with the event, was Francesca Tamagri-Christian. Francesca is an extremely accomplished Union Mine High School senior who is hard of hearing. Her mother, Monica, accompanied her to the social, “We moved here when Francesca was six years old from the Bay Area, and it was difficult leaving an area with a large network of parents to a smaller community and a smaller network. Events and resources like this are great for parents to make connections with each other, and it’s nice to see kids of all ages here this afternoon.”
Along with her diligence to her school work, Francesca gives back to her community. She volunteers for Hand 4 Hope and currently serves as their Youth Committee’s president. She recalled a recent event she helped to produce, “We raised $4,500 for a nonprofit organization called Sweet Dreams that builds dream bedrooms for children with serious diseases.”
Francesca will graduate from Union Mine High School this year and move on to the University of San Francisco where she will focus on international studies. This determined young woman’s plan is to become a Foreign Service Officer. As part of the support she receives from EDCOE, Delrene has been a conduit to the University’s Office of Disabilities and is helping Francesca navigate the process to secure services she will need such as a note taker.
In addition to creating these support vehicles, EDCOE Special Services facilitates a range of special education services to children with exceptional needs. The department offers support to county-wide programs and school districts including special day classes, resource specialist programs, and numerous itinerant services to meet the individual needs of children with low-incidence disabilities. EDCOE provides services on 19 campuses, with an emphasis on age-appropriate settings to allow for maximum integration.
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