Saturday, April 23, 2016

Time Well Spent

I have learned more than quite a few things from my graduate studies. Some of those things I have already discussed either in my discussion posts or blogs. Two primary things I have talked about in Week 8 Discussion post. There are other things I have learned and appreciated about my Walden graduate experience.

I was in for a surprise when I learned how little I know and how much I love learning. With my personal experiences, I intended to study just to get my Masters. But from the first class to this very class, I have been on a whirlwind of learning. I have developed a professional base of knowledge to match my personal experiences. That’s one of some things I have come to deeply appreciate. I am currently taking a Child Language Acquisition class and learning about how we generally acquire a language. I highly recommend it.

Secondly, I have learned some fundamental principles of Early Childhood that I had not realized before and that I have applied in my advocacy efforts. I learned things and wondered why they were not being utilized with Deaf children ages 0-5. Important stuff like not developing exclusionary policies, research involving the people that it studies, and, most importantly, the essential involvement of the community in early childhood programs.

Finally, it feels good to have a suffix. I am going to pursue my doctorate this fall and looking forward to learning some greater stuff from great Walden teachers.

As I look back on my graduate studies, I remember my colleagues whom I recognize as going through the same stress and experiences as me and my teachers whom I appreciate for their candor and input. I would upload a video but nobody would understand my American Sign Language. Thank you for listening to me every time I stand on my soapbox. It is much appreciated.

We all have lofty goals, and I have no doubt that each one of us will accomplish our Capstone projects. Maybe I will bump into some of you in the doctoral program.

Good luck!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Jobs/Roles in the International ECE Community

It would be quite an adventure to travel to other countries and help Deaf children and their families. I would need to know the language and culture of the particular country before I can really become involved with them. Only one of those three international organizations had a page of employment opportunities. Unfortunately, it currently has no job openings.

Deaf Child Hope

Although the main goals are to support ministry opportunities that work with Deaf children around the world, I am drawn to two of their four initiatives. One is to provide scholarships for Deaf children who wish to further their education, and the second is to be an advocate for Deaf children by bringing attention to the plights of Deaf children in developing countries. Furthermore, they are focused on Deaf children because they are frequently overlooked by global humanitarian relief efforts. It is rare for Deaf children to receive an education. Unfortunately, there are no listed employment opportunities.

Help the Children: We Help Deaf Students!

Helping Deaf Children is one of their many programs. One of their missions is to help set up schools for Deaf children and provide them and their families with better health care.

Deaf Child Worldwide

It is an international arm of the National Deaf Children’s Society based in England. Their goal is to remove all barriers to the achievement of Deaf children throughout the world by empowering deaf children and their families, increasing awareness of the needs of Deaf children, and influencing and challenging key decision makers to make Deaf children a political priority. Their last goal meets my objective of being an advocate influencing policy, and unfortunately, there are no current employment opportunities. I need to keep an eye on this website for potential employment in the future.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Jobs/Roles in the Early Childhood Education (ECE) Community: National/Federal Level

These are my dream jobs in Washington, DC where national policy is created, implemented, and disseminated throughout the country.

I believe in the mission of providing a head start to all who want to place their children in early childhood programs. Head Start supports the mental, social, and emotional development. Many of the programs are not affordable to many American families who need childcare. Instead of putting them in care where the caretakers may not be necessarily trained or qualified, Head Start provides them with a true head start. I appreciate that there is a federal program that enables families to receive needed services. I checked their employment opportunities. Although California has 25 job openings, none of them are in San Diego. Nor are there opportunities for me to become a researcher or an advocate within the federal agency.

U.S. Congress:
House of Representatives Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education:
I do not know what my chances of employment are, but they would be dream jobs because I get to influence national policy on early childhood education. There are two Representatives from California. The Chair of the subcommittee is from Indiana, where I was born.

U.S. Department of Education Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA):
English Language acquisition is one of my main areas of interest along with American Sign Language Acquisition. They are focused on preserving heritage languages and biliteracy – or even multiliteracy – skills. Maybe their National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA: has the right type of employment opportunities for my public policy interest.

Visual Language & Visual Learning:
VL2, a National Science Foundation funded program at Gallaudet University, looks like an interesting and transformative place to work in. They advocate for visual language with the possibility of a spoken language for those children who might be able to acquire it. They sponsor research and conduct meta studies of research supporting a specific topic such as bilingualism.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Exploring Roles in the ECE Community: Local and State Levels

I picked one local, two state, and two national advocacy organization that appealed to me. The reasons why they appealed to me are listed below each organization.

Deaf Community Services of San Diego:
It is a local social services agency for Deaf San Diegans; with new leadership, they have re-focused their priorities to early childhood education, to setting up a youth literacy camp, and Deaf Mentor Program. Those three issues are very dear to me as an advocate.

California Deaf Education Resource Center South:
It provides resources for early intervention, parent education, and assessments through families’ networks, schools, and community.

California Hands & Voices:
It is a statewide nonprofit volunteer organization that supports families making informed decisions about all they need to know about their Deaf children.

Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center:
It is a program that is part of Gallaudet University outreach efforts. They provide information and training for parents and professionals working with Deaf and Hard of Hearing children.

Future of Children:
It is a collaborative effort between Princeton University and Brookings Institution, a research organization. The Future of Children is focused on providing research and analysis to promote effective policies and programs for children.

The last two organizations have a listing of employment opportunities, but none that fits my specialization in advocacy and public policy. I think that each job will require a differing range of skills and experiences. I have experiences and skills, but they are not necessarily the professional kind. My employment history has gaps where I stayed home and worked part-time.

I think I would need a doctoral to achieve what I set out to do.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Profile of a Volunteer

Kieff (2009) talked about volunteerism as a form of advocacy, and although I have never really seen volunteers that way, I am developing a shift in my paradigm of a volunteer and an advocate. Louise Sparks-Derman (Laureate Education, 2010) defined an advocate as someone who speaks for the voiceless. So, even if you were a volunteer helping the unfortunate, you are advocating as well especially for the voiceless. It was interesting to me that I have volunteered through a wide variety of settings: short-term, long-term, team, family, and direct. I have not volunteered in a virtual way yet, but an opportunity might present itself some day soon.

Today, I am a volunteer advocate for both a service-oriented and advocacy-oriented nonprofits (Kieff, 2009). Through my involvement as a volunteer advocate in both organizations, I have learned from others more seasoned than me. Learning from the master advocates has helped me improve my advocacy skills. The following definition describes what the two volunteer masters that I try to emulate have done:

Volunteering is the voluntary giving of time and talents to deliver services or perform tasks with no direct financial compensation expected. Volunteering includes the participation of citizens in the direct delivery of service to others; citizen action groups; advocacy for causes, groups, or individuals; participation in the governance of both private and public agencies; self-help and mutual aid endeavors; and a broad range of informal helping activities (President’s Task Force on Private Sector Initiatives, 1982 as cited in Cnaan et al 1996).

Furthermore, the following definition more narrowly describes why they volunteer:

To volunteer is to choose to act in recognition of a need, with an attitude of social responsibility and without concern for monetary profit, going beyond one’s basic obligations (Ellis and Noyes, 1990 as cited in Cnaan et al 1996).

They always recognize a need and drum up support to address the need, usually about Deaf children and their families. They advocate for the individual family, for the community, and to leave the world a better place than they found it.

I feel lucky to know these two women, Sheri Farinha and Julie Rems Smario.


Cnaan, R.A., Handy, F., & Wadsworth, M. (September 1996). Defining who is a volunteer: Conceptual and empirical considerations. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly vol. 25 no. 3 364-383. Retrieved from: doi: 10.1177/0899764096253006
Kieff, J. (2009). Informed advocacy in early childhood care and education. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Laureate Education, Inc. (2010) The passion for early childhood. Baltimore: Author