Hearing impaired teenagers were given a chance to explore a number of hearing challenges and make new friends at a Hear For You life goals and skills workshop in Bundaberg.
Bundaberg teens Maeve Taggart and Alana Reid were excited to attend the region’s first Hear For You workshop, where they met inspiring mentors Claire Cunningham and Dan Jarvis.
Maeve said the two-day event was worthwhile and it was nice to meet others with a similar background.
“I’m having a lot of fun and it’s been good,” Maeve said.
Alana said the Hear For You first life goals and skills workshop gave her a chance to interact with other hearing-impaired people in Bundaberg and it helped build confidence.
“I don’t really know anyone else who is deaf, so I liked meeting Maeve,” she said.
“It’s cool Hear For You have social media for deaf teenagers too.”
Hear For You mentors have life experience
Mentors Dan and Claire shared their experiences and challenges of living as a deaf person in a hearing world.
The group explored a range of issues including communication, conflict resolution, school challenges and subject choices, along with social media topics.
Claire engaged with the teens in a fun environment, sharing her experiences of what it was like growing up deaf.
“We share our experiences with the teens, as the mentors are deaf as well,” she said.
“It’s nice to talk to them about what we went through in high school, after high school, and into our careers.
“We help guide them and hopefully give them confidence through a series of workshops, talking about friendship, leadership, identity, conflict resolution and communication.”
Dan said it was the first time Hear For You had held a workshop in the Bundaberg Region and he hoped it would become an annual event.
“I think it’s really important we connect with teens who are in a similar boat to what we went through while having some fun and learning skills from a deafness perspective in terms of how we can get through our barriers,” Dan said.
“As mentors we have had that experience and share it, and also listen to what the mentees have to say, what are their challenges.
“They can share their experiences with others as they are in the same age group and in the same boat, while meeting new friends that are similar to them.”
Helping deaf teenagers live in a hearing world
Dan said topics discussed during the Hear For You life goals and skills workshop included identity, confidence, teamwork and leadership.
He hoped the deaf teenagers would learn to advocate for themselves and not rely on others to speak for them.
“We work to help deaf people understand a little bit about what it’s like in a hearing world, because we do miss out on a lot,” he said.
“I didn’t have this opportunity as teenager.
“It was very challenging for me as I went to a mainstream school and I was the only deaf teenager there and when you don’t have other deaf people around, you have learn to stand on your own two feet and build that confidence alone.
“I think most importantly in the two-day workshop, we are able to turn the participants' confidence around from very low to extremely high, and the kids don’t want to leave on Sunday because they’ve had so much fun connecting with others.”
Hear For You is an Australian charity, founded by deaf people, and run by deaf people, for deaf teenagers.
For more information about Hear For You click here or phone 1800 432 749.
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