$250,000 gift ensures Spanish-language programming for deaf and hard of hearing children

Dr. Robert R. Davila grew up in the agricultural setting of the San Joaquin Valley. Childhood was challenging for Davila and his seven siblings in their early years. As children of Mexican immigrants who worked up and down the valley picking crops and packing fruit, the children initially spoke only Spanish and started school later in childhood.

At the age of 8, Davila contracted meningitis of the spine and, as a result, became deaf. His challenges became the catalyst for his remarkable career, which included serving as president of Gallaudet University the leading higher education institution in the US for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Dr. Robert R. Davila

Today, Davila continues to support the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community and the San Joaquin Valley through the Legacy of Robert R. and Donna E. Davila in Silent Garden in the State of Fresno. Named after himself and his late wife, Donna, the $ 250,000 gift will support Spanish-speaking programming in Silent Garden.

The silent garden at College of Health and Human Services in the State of Fresno was created in 2008 to encourages opportunity, understanding and awareness for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community in Central California. The program provides free educational conferences and resources to the community, as well as scholarships for deaf students in education and interpretation.

“We are so grateful to have the support of Dr. “Davila, who is an internationally recognized role model for Latino families with deaf and hard of hearing children,” said Dr. Denise Seabert, dean of the College of Health and Human Services.

The gift will enable Silent Garden to offer a Spanish-language conference every four years, bringing together world-class presenters representing a variety of experiences in raising and educating Hispanic children with hearing loss.

“This generous gift will create advanced opportunities for Silent Garden to flourish, while providing timely and significant resources for Hispanic families, as well as support for education professionals,” Seabert said.

Robert R. and Donna E. Davila

Robert R. and Donna E. Davila

Hoping to give her son a better life and opportunities to thrive, Davila’s mother sent him to the Deaf School in California, Berkeley, almost two years after he was diagnosed with deafness. His mother did not have much resources for Davila at the time, and she was grateful she learned about school through a friend.

It was at this time that his love for academia was born. He quickly learned both English and American Sign Language and prospered in his new school. After graduating with honors, he obtained his degree from Gallaudet University. and later a master’s and doctorate in education from Hunter College and Syracuse University, respectively.

Davila was the first Latino student to be admitted to Gallaudet and later became the first Latino to graduate from university. His legacy at the university continued in 2007, when he was appointed the ninth president of Gallaudet and the first president of color. Prior to that, he taught university courses and served in many leadership and management roles, including vice president for his preschool programs, for more than 15 years.

In 1989, President George HW Bush selected Davila as Assistant Secretary of Education overseeing the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services. He was the first Spaniard and a disabled person to hold this high position.

Davila has influenced all over the United States, but his strong roots have drawn him back to the San Joaquin Valley and the fields and orchards that served as a backdrop for his childhood. Known for its diverse population, the San Joaquin Valley is home to nearly 150,000 deaf children and adults from Hispanic homes. Davila aspires to continue Silent Garden’s goal of supporting culturally linguistically diverse minorities. That inspired his last gift.

“I have not forgotten my early years in the Valley and the impact my deafness had on my family,” Davila said. “Although the times were difficult in the beginning, my deafness eventually led to efforts that allowed my family to grow and be educated. “Silent Garden can offer the same opportunity to the many Hispanic people in the Valley who are probably growing up and perhaps worried about how to help their deaf children grow.”

In the 9 a.m. Saturday 26 FebruarySilent Garden will host its annual Lecture at Silent Garden, bringing in experts and leaders in the field, including keynote presentations by Sharon Grigsby Hill, ASLI Program Director at the University of Houston. and Dr. Christopher Tester, Assistant Professor of Interpreting and Translation at Gallaudet University. This year’s conference will focus on current trends in interpretation.

“The lecture will take a look at how both certified deaf interpreters and hearing interpreters work as a team providing the best services to clients everywhere,” said Dr. Paul Ogden, founder of Silent Garden. “It will also look at how we can take the interpreting industry to new heights: providing new tools to professional interpreters who work with their clients in increasingly complex areas such as technology, science, entertainment and the corporate community.”

The free, public lecture will be accessible nationwide via Zoom with sign language interpretation and subtitles. In addition to the basic presentations, there will be two panels with professionals. Resources will be provided for families, teachers, professionals, professionals and the general public.

To register or learn more about the event, contact Beth Wilkinson at bwilkinson@csufresno.edu.or visit: chhs.fresnostate.edu/thesilentgarden.

$250,000 gift ensures Spanish-language programming for deaf and hard of hearing children Source link $250,000 gift ensures Spanish-language programming for deaf and hard of hearing children

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