A deaf woman is desperately searching for a job after being knocked back for more than 1,000 positions. 32-year-old Kellie Wilson says her job hunt has been so grueling because bosses reject her as soon as they realise she’s deaf. She says having so many job applications rejected has knocked her confidence, and that she fears she’ll never find her dream position because of her disability.
Kellie suddenly lost her hearing when she was just four years old and relies on lip reading to understand people. She says she’s absolutely sick of being rejected, despite having a range of experience, having previously worked as an administrative officer, legal assistant and finance assistant. Kellie, who lives in Richmond, North Yorkshire, once worked as an assistant at notorious jail HMP Wakefield in West Yorkshire, from 2004 to 2009. Since then, she has had a number of temporary jobs secured through a local job agency but the longest time spent in employment has been nine months, while the shortest was four days.
And although employers have been happy with her work, none of them have been able to offer Kellie a full time permanent job. Now she has chosen to speak out after being repeatedly rebuffed whilst applying for a range of jobs. Kellie said: ‘I have had a brief span of temporary postings but nothing permanent.
‘During all this time, I’ve only managed to secure a few interviews and often I don’t get a reply at all. ‘When I do get an interview, I find it goes well until I disclose my disability. ‘I wear two very strong hearing aids but can only hear some sounds so I lip read to bridge the gap. ‘But I cannot lip read everyone due to individual mouth patterns. It’s exhausting and frustrating. ‘After disclosing my disability, I find people suddenly warn me that the job involves a lot of phone work when it didn’t say that in the advertisement.
Aspen Camp for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is suspending its operations for a year and closing the doors to its Old Snowmass campus in an effort to focus on a “reinvention,” the 51-year-old nonprofit announced today.
“The bottom line is that we need money and a new operating philosophy. This year has thrown many, many, many challenges our way,” Katie Murch, the camp’s marketing and strategic director, said in a text message Nov. 21. “We only had three full-time staff managing everything and it was very exhausting.”
According to a federal tax lien filed in August, Aspen Camp for the Deaf owes more than $145,000 in payroll taxes from September 2014 through 2016.
Board president Ryan Commerson and Murch said the camp is working with the IRS and “cannot confirm any details until we have more information.”
The Deaf Camp’s difficult year started in January when Airbnb renters ransacked and vandalized the cabins over the X Games weekend. Camp officials estimated there was $4,000 in damages, but a fund-raising campaign brought in $10,000. The extra money was slated to go to the camp’s scholarship fund.
Commerson said they still are owed $25,000 from parents who have not paid for camp tuition. The nonprofit also is pursuing “$17,000 from a partner who owes us that and has not paid,” Commerson said but declined to name that debtor. “It affects the bottom line.”
After the Airbnb incident in the months leading up to summer, a total of eight staff members backed out of their contracts, Murch said. Then, the Lake Christine Fire that engulfed Basalt Mountain in July “scared our parents and campers,” the statement from the Deaf Camp today said.
The annual Deaf Camp Benefit only broke even this summer, despite seeing more visitors than ever, Murch said.
New regulations prevented the use of the camp’s challenge course and “several other incidents” also hampered the nonprofit and its work, the statement says.
“It was too much,” Murch said in the statement. “Our team and resources were strained. It affected our focus and the relationships that we value so greatly in the Roaring Fork Valley.”
Aspen Deaf Camp Facility Director Zack Sisson in the statement expressed concerns with an aging campus and the rising cost of living in the area. “Our buildings are over 45 years old and are costing us a lot of money to maintain or upgrade,” Sisson said, pointing to pricey plumbing services and an $850 monthly internet bill as examples.
He added that, “Our staff cannot afford to live off campus which in turn affects a work-life balance.”
As a result of Airbnb renters’ “continued irresponsible behavior,” the camp will no longer rent its cabins, which brought in sustainable revenue for the nonprofit.
“Airbnb did not support our effort to pursue accountability of those guests. We didn’t want to put the community, especially our neighbors, at risk,” Murch, who is Deaf, wrote via text. “So we are shutting Airbnb down on December 1. It will hurt our revenue stream, which is one of the many challenges we face.”
The Deaf Camp board and staff members met Nov. 10 to discuss the nonprofit’s options moving forward. They decided to suspend operations for one year “while focusing on reinventing the camp,” the statement says.
“We have a new vision we want to pursue. We want to make exponential impact given that camping and youth-related trends are really changing,” Murch wrote via text. “We also want to step up our involvement and contributions to the local community — it’s overdue. The new vision a really cool one. We’ll see how much the community supports it.”
Asked what the camp’s revamp will entail and who is involved, Commerson responded via email, “Diverse visionaries with background in education, administration, advocacy, and other non-traditional ideas will take part in the evolutionary process to reinvent the camp.”
Commerson, who also is Deaf, said the nonprofit is seeking communal involvement and support in the form of ideas, resources and investments.
“The investment will be used to initiate a capital campaign so we can design and build a facility to foster the development of the deaf youth to become innovators, intellectuals, and more importantly, healthy well-rounded contributors to the world.”
Since opening its doors in 1967, the camp has welcomed more than 21,000 deaf people from 47 states and 12 countries, camp director Lesa Thomas told the Snowmass Sun in an interview in July of 2017. Thomas left the organization within the past two months, Murch said.
In June 2018, Thomas said the camp was on a mission to raise its profile and connection in the community, noting then, “I feel we’re poised to come back.”
Students left the Shirley Bird Perry Ballroom Tuesday night with newfound knowledge of two signs in American Sign Language: “LOVE YOURSELF.”
Deaf activist Nyle DiMarco spoke to around 500 attendees about how his experiences as a Deaf person shaped him into a famous advocate for Deaf education. He also talked about how his own perseverance through adversity taught him the importance of embracing who you are.
“I use my experience as an asset,” DiMarco said. “I am just the same as everyone else, and all of you can use your differences to your advantage.”
DiMarco, who has over 300,000 Twitter followers, won both America’s Next Top Model and Dancing with the Stars competitions. He said he worked hard to disprove the stereotype that Deaf people cannot dance and to prove they can achieve just as much as hearing people. Since then, he has used his platform to voice the needs of Deaf representation, education and recognition of Deaf culture.
Jacob Cheek, who is Deaf, said he was inspired and relieved to see DiMarco in person because of their shared life experiences. Both attended public hearing schools where they could not communicate with their peers, and Cheek said finally seeing DiMarco proved success as a Deaf person is attainable.
“My experience is the exact same as his, so I know I’ll be okay,” said Cheek, a communication sciences and disorders junior. “Look at him now — he is successful, and he is an amazing person. I know I can go down that same path.”
DiMarco now runs the Nyle DiMarco Foundation to improve literacy amongst deaf people.
“I realized it is important to take advantage of my opportunity and use it to give back to my community,” DiMarco said.
Campus Events + Entertainment chair Tara Mehta said the organization was proud to host a speaker who represents the Deaf community and gives supporters and members of the Deaf community an opportunity to see someone they idolize.
“We have not had a speaker who represented the Deaf community, and knowing he is a prominent activist and role model in the Deaf community, we knew he was the perfect fit,” accounting junior Mehta said.
To achieve success, DiMarco said people of marginalized backgrounds must use their communities to develop a sense of identity. With that identity, people can apply their own experiences to differentiate themselves from the rest.
“You all can bring value to the world,” DiMarco said to the crowd. “There is nothing that can stop you. Just remember to love yourself.”
Not Impossible Labs has debuted ‘Music: Not Impossible (M:NI), an applied Vibrotextile technology that translates sound onto the skin through vibration, allowing users to feel the nuances of a music-listening experience. M:NI uses a combination of wearables, hardware, software and wireless tools.
The battery-powered wireless wearables include two wristbands, two ankle bands, and a harness; each element receives complex polyphonic musical expressions across the skin. Wearers may adjust the intensity of vibrations, which are visually represented via colorful LED lights. An M:NI activation can scale the technology to any size arena or audience and the signal may be broadcast across significant distances without interference.
Not Impossible Labs has partnered with Avnet, which has the technology development ecosystem and expertise to guide and support the development of Music: Not Impossible. Avnet’s design and product experts have been working with Not Impossible Labs by helping with new prototyping, sourcing materials, recommending new sensors and components, and establishing a network for production and distribution.
Music: Not Impossible debuted during a live concert on September 21 for approximately 200 concertgoers in a private show at the Church of Rock and Roll during the Life is Beautiful festival held in Las Vegas. The audience for this beta test was composed of both deaf and hearing music lovers in an effort to promote auditory inclusion and human connection.
“This event has truly humbled and inspired me as well as everyone at Avnet who played a part in making the impossible possible through their creativity, grit and technology expertise,” said Bill Amelio, chief executive officer, Avnet. “We’re proud to be a technology solutions partner for Mick Ebeling and his team. It’s through our experience and end-to-end ecosystem that we’re able to help companies like Not Impossible Labs bring important innovations to market easier, faster and more cost-efficiently, guiding the product development and go-to-market process. This concert event was about more than just showcasing a new technology; it was about augmenting the experience itself through transformative technical innovation that expands access and inclusion.
UPDATE: Family of Williston woman missing since early Sunday said late Monday that she was “safe and sound.”
UPDATE: Family of Williston woman missing since early Sunday said late Monday that she was “safe and sound.” The original story is below.
A Levy County family is asking for the public’s help in locating a 34-year-old mentally disabled woman who is deaf and mute.
Michelle Ricks of Williston is the subject of a BOLO (be on the lookout) alert with the Levy County Sheriff’s Office, according to a dispatcher early Monday.
According to Kim Law, Ricks’ guardian, Ricks left the family home Sunday around 9:30 a.m. and was doing some bird watching in a nearby area but wandered off.
Law said Ricks was possibly confused or upset and was last seen in the vicinity of the Unity Temple Church at 5351 NE 200th Ave. in Williston around 10:30 a.m. Sunday. She said Ricks might have headed toward Dunnellon.
Law said that Ricks, who is white, stand 5 feet, 6 inches tall, weighs 184 pounds and has gray/ blonde hair and hazel eyes. She was last seen wearing a long black skirt, a blue or purple shirt and black shoes.
Ricks needs asthma and seizure medications that she does not have with her, Law said.
Anyone with information as to Ricks’ whereabouts is asked to call the LCSO at 486-5111 or Kim Law at 875-1211.