Last night, I got my first glimpse into how impactful our program will be. Several families dropped by Thuan An to learn more about the parent component of our workshop and sign up for consultations with our experts. They arrived with their children – some shy with their big brown eyes and sweet faces burrowed in their moms’ embraces while others more rambunctious grinned broadly at me and Thuy before running off to play – and all of them were adorable.
One father of a 3-year-old daughter asked to participate in both the teacher and parent program to maximize his learning. That means he will be at the center every day between July 12 and August 6, from 7:30 am – 9:00 pm. He sat with me to share his concern for his daughter’s development. It may have been a diatribe in halting English, but the sense of urgency and compassion were clear. He asked me many questions about my own experiences and kept saying how grateful he was that our team was coming. A mother signed up for an hour of consultations each day before the parent program begins in the evening.
All the parents sat around the table, faces hopeful and intent as Thuy ran through the details. It was an incredible display of the desire to learn and help their children. Sitting there, watching them all interact with Thuy, asking questions and the like…well, I couldn’t help but be moved. This is what it is all about. Helping others make their own worlds a little easier and better.
Minh, one of our volunteer interpreters dropped by en route home from work to welcome me. I first met Minh at a UN People to People event last Fall. I was taken by his impeccable English and concentrated effort to do the very best he could in translating what was complicated material at the meeting. I later introduced myself to him and we got to talking about the foundation’s project. “Give me a call when you are ready,” he said intensely. “I want to help.” I kept his card and when we were looking for interpreters, he was one of the first I emailed. I’m so glad to have him with us.
Thuy shared with me today, the speech that she will give at the media day ceremony. In it, she talks about how we met and it was really touching to hear her version of the story. She says our time together gave her renewed confidence and inspiration to help young children with hearing loss learn to communicate through spoken language, get good education, and achieve all they hope to in their lives. My experience here in 2008 was such a monumental one for me personally…so it is warming to learn that the feeling appears to have been mutual.