This March, Yelp Elites gathered at the Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center to kick-off Yelp’s Culture Club. Yelp’s Culture Club is a series dedicated to upping your artsy IQ while meeting some of Northeast Ohio’s most interesting arts and culture spots. CHSC is the nation’s oldest hearing and speech center and Northeast Ohio’s only nonprofit organization dedicated solely to serving those with special communication needs. They have a staff of more than 50 professionals who serve thousands of children and adults each year. CHSC also offers 10-week ASL courses, with four sessions per year. Three levels of ASL courses are offered, featuring progressive language and comprehension as well as the opportunity to interact with other students and practice signs. All classes focus on teaching ASL skills as well as deaf culture and history. They continually work to help people connect through communication and they did just that for Yelpers. Yelpers came together at the Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center for Yelp’s Sips & Signs, an evening of learning American Sign Language basics while sipping wine. The group found a seat, nibbled on hors d’oeuvres and sipped a glass of wine. Once settled in, an interpreter welcomed the group. Elites met Dawn and Casey, our instructors for the evening. Dawn and Casey told us a little about themselves and how CHSC has impacted their lives. We quickly realized that the group could easily communicate and learn from Dawn and Casey without an interpreter. So, the two took over and began teaching. Dawn and Casey jumped right into teaching the alphabet. Their humor shone through as they aided the group in perfecting each sign. As Yelp Elite Sheena W. wrote, “Dawn and Casey were our instructors and I liked their teaching style, they made learning fun and I know several of us were hungry for even more knowledge.” After working through the alphabet, Elites learned several salutations from hello to goodbye. Next, Casey and Dawn taught the group expressing emotions ranging from tired to happy. They asked Elites what emotion they were feeling and helped them practice in a natural and conversational way. Eventually, Elites worked towards introductions, spelling names and holding basic conversation. Elites then practiced what they learned. Split into pairs, Elites turned to their partner and tested their new knowledge. The pairs enthusiastically introduced themselves, signed their name and emotions. The second part of the class covered favorite sports, foods, celebration words and entertainment. Yelp Elite HerBrina S. was particularly excited to learn certain words, writing, “They taught us a variety of common words and phrases that I feel like would get us through a party conversation. I was excited to learn [the words] wine, beer, and whiskey – yep! I am set for life!” Learning from Casey and Dawn was engaging, exciting and personable. Throughout the class, several Yelpers showed off new skills in front of the group with the help of the instructors. Using only sign language challenged guests at this event and provided a helpful insight into the work CHSC does. Yelp Elite Agnes I. felt inspired from the event, writing, “I encourage you to visit this hearing center and step outside of your comfort zone. Going to a Yelp dinner event is cool, but attending a class such as sign language really gives you a different perspective on communication while broadening your overall life experience.” The group walked away with a new-found appreciation for American Sign Language.
Check out the outstanding reviews and photos here. For more information about the Yelp Cleveland Elite Squad, visit yelp.com/elite.