Each year, Patch employees get five days off to volunteer. They're called Give 5 days, and they're part of the reason I enjoy working for Patch—the company really values volunteerism and encourages its employees to be active in the community.
This time, a group of St. Louis Patch editors did some yard work at the . We weeded some flower beds, helped prune bushes and other plants and planted some daffodils. It was great to take a break from my normal planted-in-a-coffee-house-with-a-computer routine! We had a lot of fun, and I'm hopeful that the flowers we planted will bloom in the spring. (I tend to have a black thumb...so I hope I didn't curse them!)
After we volunteered, we got to meet a few of the institute's summer school students. The kids gave us popsicles, and we talked with teachers about the summer school program. Then we toured the school.
St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf is pretty unique—they don't teach sign language at all. Instead, kids are taught to hear, read and speak English. When they've got the help they need, they go back to public or private schools. Children can be seen at St. Joseph's as soon as a few weeks after birth, and they've got students as old as 101.
The kids at the school are mostly profoundly deaf. Many have cochlear implants, a complicted electronic device that can change a deaf person's life. The implants allow them to hear music and more. At St. Joseph's they learn how to use the device, which requires therapy just like a hip replacement would.
The work they are doing at St. Joseph is really great. I'm glad we were able to help them even a little bit!