Like many couples, Monica and Dirk Hillard had very different childhoods and experiences, but they both agree that growing up as the only deaf child in their families was very isolating and frustrating.
“My parents didn’t have a language they shared with me. They could hear and speak with my brother so I got left out a lot more than my brother did. And I didn’t have that communication with my parents or that bond with my parents and my parents didn’t understand what it was like to be deaf,” said Monica.
Today, Monica and Dirk have two children of their own, both of whom are deaf. They say they’re happy that they can communicate with their kids, and offer them something that their own parents were able to.
“We are lucky enough to both be deaf and come home and let our hair down and communicate freely, but not a lot of deaf people do,” said Dirk.
That’s why the Hillards created the Deaf Club, which offers a social space for people who feel like they can’t communicate with their families.
Dirk and Monica say they’re inspired by what they can provide for their children, and hope to help break down barriers for other deaf children around the world.