I was in Wales this weekend. No, it was intentional – I had my NDCS volunteers hat on and was helping out at an NDCS event in Llangrannog – a place which, until very recently, I could not place on a map. Or pronounce. Despite having enough Welsh blood in me to qualify for the Welsh football team, it was only the second time I had ever ventured to that part of the UK. Probably for the best – I spent a large part of the trip humming songs by Tom Jones or Duffy, or quoting catchphrases from Gavin & Stacey.
So, what’s occurring? As a NDCS volunteer, I have to generally look after the children and make sure they are having fun and getting involved. As a deaf NDCS volunteer, I also act as a ‘role model’ for the children. The events are always exhausting, but in a good way. Its great to see deaf children, many of whom have had limited contact with other deaf children and adults, mix with each other, and grow in confidence and assertiveness. I won’t lie to you, it also brings out the child in me. Often, I’m more excited about the activities than some of the children.
On this trip, I took the opportunity to ask the children what they want to be when they grow up. Asking deaf children what they want to be when they grow up is one of the things we’ve been doing as part our campaign to Close the Gap. In fact, we did a huge competition last year where we asked deaf children to draw us images of what they want to be when they grow up. The response was amazing.
The idea behind doing this was show the world that deaf children have the same ambitions and aspirations as all other children – and to highlight that many are being held back from reaching their potential. We’ll be using these drawings to promote our campaign.
The answers I got from these children in Wales included teacher, car designer, painter, footballer and vet. If these children succeed in their ambitions, if the right support is given to them to help them fulfill their potential, then we’ll know that our campaign to Close the Gap has been truly successful.