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From left, Star Clinton (Nita’s Silent Hands), Kathy Loo (NC Hands & Voices), Javonda Adams (Impact Hands Foundation) partnered for a back to school supply drives for two schools for the deaf. [PROVIDED PHOTO]

Three women who are advocates for the deaf recently teamed up to hold a school supply drive for two schools for the deaf. They will be delivering school supplies to the North Carolina School of the Deaf in Morganton, and the Eastern North Carolina School of the Deaf in Wilson.

The three women are Kathy Loo with NC Hands & Voices, Javonda Adams with Impact Hands Foundation, and Starr Clinton with Nita’s Silent Hands.

The purpose, according to the women, is to increase public knowledge of deaf issues, people, and culture.

Loo, along with Alicia Spencer, is the co-executive director of North Carolina Hands & Voices, a parent-driven organization dedicated to supporting families of children who are deaf and hard-of-hearing.

“We are non-biased about communication methodologies and believe that families can make the best choices for their child if they have access to good information and support,” said Loo. “I am a parent first. My role as an organizational leader is to help parents walk their path with their child, just as I have had to walk my path with my mine. I love that I can come alongside families and support them on their individual journey. I often tell people that one of the loneliest places is parenting my children with hearing loss. I want parents to know I’m here for you and I get it.”

Clinton is the founder of Nita’s Silent Hands, where the mission is to provide ASL classes.

“We want to increase awareness, respect, and the equality of deaf and hard of hearing individuals within their diverse communities,” Clinton, who is a CODA — which stands for a child of a deaf adult.

Throughout her life, one question she’s been frequently asked is, “What is it like growing up with a deaf parent?”

Clinton admits that she always felt like she “had a superpower because everyone was so fascinated with how she was able to talk with her hands.”

This wasn’t her inspiration though. Growing up, she had to be the interpreter for her mother. At times this could be extremely aggravating, but she knew it needed to be done. Going into stores, restaurants, or any place where her mom needed assistance always bothered her, she explains. She would often question why people didn’t know how to communicate with her mom. Being a momma’s girl, Starr knew something needed to be done. One day, God gave her a vision to help the deaf and hard of hearing community.

Adams is a leader in the deaf community and the founder of Impact Hands, LLC. Her vision is to bridge the gap between the hearing and deaf worlds, empower deaf individuals, and build more strong deaf leaders.

This book bag drive was her brainchild. She wanted to find a small way to make a big wave that would benefit deaf children in and around our communities. This effort was something that didn’t require a common language to meet a goal.

“Growing up in the Clover School district where it was mostly mainstream education I was never able to get to the experience of being a deaf student in a deaf school,” Adams said. “But a few people I know taught me about deaf culture and community. This was something that I wanted to do to show the students they aren’t alone. We can make a difference by doing a small token for the community.”

She added: “There’s a lot of potential in the deaf community. We don’t have to settle. I want to be someone who builds us up, so we can sustain and preserve the next generation of deaf adults. We need to lead by example. Our success is their success.”

Clinton said the three are thrilled by the response from the community.

“We wanted to thank everyone who contributed to this cause,” she said. “We are forever grateful.”