07-06-2006

Twenty-five families who lost everything in the devastation of Hurricane Katrina last fall—including American Sign Language books and videos for their deaf toddlers and infants—will be able to once again practice their early communication skills with the aid of new materials thanks to a donation over more than $4,000 worth of products by DawnSignPress, San Diego.

From the company’s list of products for all ages, DawnSignPress staff selected a variety of must-have titles for each family: Signs for Me, Deaf Culture Our Way, 100 Signs for Parents and Emergencies, ABC Signs for Animal Friends, First Signs, Sign Language Children Series, and a DVD featuring babies signing.

“None of us had any idea how severely Katrina survivors with young deaf children were affected,” says Joe Dannis, president of DawnSignPress. “When we were contacted by Donna Embree, the coordinator and parent advisor of the Parent-Pupil Education Program of the Louisiana School for the Deaf, we realized how important it was to replace lost materials and help families rebuild their sign language library.”

Designated families received specially packaged bags stuffed with assorted products along with a personal letter from Dannis. It is the largest one-time donation to individuals by the company.

 “I’m pleased that we can offer assistance to these 25 families,” Dannis says. “As the father of three children and an advocate of using American Sign Language in the home and in the classroom, I can only imagine how difficult it is to maintain a rich, stimulating environment for a deaf child when all reading materials are gone or damaged beyond repair.”