X
GO
Plainfield HS student helping Sunny Hill residents communicate with sign
Tammy Reiher
/ Categories: News, Press Releases, Home Page

Plainfield HS student helping Sunny Hill residents communicate with sign

“We wish you a Merry Christmas,

We wish you a Merry Christmas,

We wish you a Merry Christmas

And a Happy New Year.”

    JOLIET -- “Stack your fists… and go around,” Madison “Madi” Curran instructs her class, teaching the students the sign for “new year.”

The 17-year-old Plainfield Central High School student and her mother, Penny Curran, have been traveling to Sunny Hill Nursing Home of Will County every Tuesday afternoon for about 18 months, where Madi, with Mom at her side, teaches sign language to residents.

Fresh off of a performance at the Veterans Recognition Ceremony on Nov. 3, where the group signed to My Country Tis of Thee, I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You and God Bless America, the class is preparing for its next performance.

The group, four women on a recent Tuesday afternoon, will perform a trio of Christmas carols during the Home for the Holidays event from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10. The signing carolers will travel to each of the floors, or Avenues as they are called at the county-owned nursing home, and perform We Will You a Merry Christmas, Jingle Bell Rock and Elvis Presley’s Blue Christmas.

Their numbers will bookend the Irish dancers who will also be performing, giving the dancers a break from their demanding routines.

Merging interests

Were it not for two of Madi’s interests, it’s safe to say this class would never have materialized.

Madi said as a freshman in high school she wanted to take French, but had problems conjugating verbs.

Her mother suggested she take American Sign Language. The Currans lived in California when Madi was in first grade and her teacher signed a song to the students every morning. Penny reminded her daughter how much she enjoyed that.

Now in her fourth year of American Sign Language, she is a teacher’s aide.

She also has been taking Irish Dance for the past decade. It was through her dancing that she first came to Sunny Hill for a performance and she will be performing again on Dec. 10.

Soon after, she started volunteering in the facility’s Sweet Shoppe, dishing out ice cream on Saturdays. It was then she noticed how some residents struggled to communicate and decided to help. Her sign language class was born.

    “Making them happy is what I’m here for,” said Madi. “… to help them communicate is what I’m here for.”

Among the first signs she taught them were pain, emergency and please.

When it all comes together and the women remember their signs, she said she feels like a mom. Or when they start putting signs together by themselves.

    “I feel like that proud soccer mom who sees her kid score their first goal,” she said, adding how they have all become friends.

    “They’re my ladies. We’re all like a family now.”

And she takes care of them like family. In American Sign Language, when there isn’t a sign for a word, the word is spelled out, she explained. Those movements are too small for the residents so she adapts signs for them to use.

Penny said that when the class started, the residents didn’t know each other, but now were planning to get together and practice on their own.

    “We’ve got several ladies who say they want to do it and then don’t,” Penny added. “But they’ll sit on the sidelines and sign along.”

It’s not just the residents who will benefit, said Danette Krieger, Activity Director and Volunteer Coordinator at Sunny Hill.

    “As a next step, we’d like to offer basic sign language to our staff,” she said.

Sign of the future

Madi, who hopes to become a trauma surgeon in a major metropolitan area such as New York, has already been accepted into several area colleges. She doesn’t know which one she will eventually attend, but she knows that for the foreseeable future she will continue teaching her class at Sunny Hill, working it in around her college courses.

Her devotion earned her the Youth Volunteer of the Year Award at Sunny Hill in June.

    She is modest about the award, saying, “There are people who do more for the community than I do.”

    The class always ends with warm embraces. “Give me a hug, beautiful,” Madi says, beginning her good-byes. “I’m so proud of all of you. From the Veterans Day (ceremony) to this, I’m so proud of you.”

Sunny Hill Nursing Home is led by Administrator Karen Sorbero and is under the office of Will County Executive Larry Walsh. For additional information about the facility, go to www.willcountyillinois.com or find it on Facebook.

Previous Article Public Hearing: Will County Planning & Zoning Commission 12.06.16
Next Article Workforce Center of Will County weekly job fair to be Nov. 30
Print
4489
 

Tammy ReiherTammy Reiher

Public Information Officer

Other posts by Tammy Reiher

Contact author

x
Press Contacts

Anastasia Tuskey
Communications Director
Ph: 815-740-8376

Tammy Reiher
Public Information Officer
Ph: 815-774-7485

«August 2020»
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2627282930
Workforce Center to host drive-through job fair

Workforce Center to host drive-through job fair

The Workforce Center of Will County will host a coronavirus conscious drive-through job fair from 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4.

Read more
31
Working in Will County

Working in Will County

Will County Executive Denise Winfrey (left) talks with CBS 2 reporter Tracy O’Brien on Thursday, July 30.

Read more
1
234
Workforce Center of Will County offers drive-thru job fair

Workforce Center of Will County offers drive-thru job fair

Methods of delivery may have changed but important job search assistance is still available to residents

Today, the Workforce Center of Will County (WCWC) piloted a new service at its 2400 Glenwood Avenue location for job seekers – a drive thru job fair. Participants were able to speak with multiple companies from the safety of their vehicles, while observing social distancing and wearing a mask.



Read more
5
It Only Works If You Wear It

It Only Works If You Wear It

Please remember to wear a mask and maintain social distancing to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Read more
6

County Executive, WSD Director on Channel 2 to promote drive-through job fair

County Executive Denise Winfrey and Workforce Services Director Susan Flessner appeared on Channel 2 to promote the Aug. 4 drive-through job fair. 

Read more
78
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
303112345

Tags

100th birthday 50th Anniversary of Earth Day Passport event acting Chief Judge David Carlson Alison.com All Nations Church of God in Christ Alzheimer's walk America Recycles Day American Legion Post 1080 American Recycles Day Animal Control Arsenal Road BBQ luncheon Becky Haldorson Bolingbrook Park District book recycling book recycling and reuse event book reuse and recycling Brayden Caraynoff-Haber Bruce Gould Caroline Portlock CBS 2 Chicago Charlotte Mather Citizen Utility Board Citizens Utility Board closings Clothes 4 Work CMAP cooling centers coronavirus County Executive Denise Winfrey County Executive Larry Walsh County Office Building Curt Paddock Danette Krieger David Dubois Deborah Alexander Deirdre Manigo Denise Winfrey Diane Brozman digital safety Director Curt Paddock Dr. L.P. Schild drive-through job fair Earth Day Earth Flag Awards Eastside Green House Eden Community Garden electronic recycling electronics recycling Emergency Management Agency Erin Kohl Ethics Adviser extreme heat Friends of Sunny Hill gardening Gertrude Hoover Green Team groundbreaking Harold Damron Health Department heroin legislation forum hero helps addiction trea Historic Preservation Commission holiday bazaar holiday gift show and luncheon holiday string lights Household Hazardous Waste Illinois Extension Service Janine Farrell Jason Holicky Jeff Hubrich JJC City Center Campus Joan O'Keefe job creation job fair John Greuling John Ocansey Joliet Mayor Bob O'Dekirk Joliet Park District Joliet Slammers Joyce Parker Judge David Carlson Karen Sorbero Kathy Pecora Land Use Department Larry Walsh Lewis University Madison Curran Marta Keane Melissa Hemzacek Memorial Day Midwest Classics on 66 Museum Midwest Renewable Energy Association Mike Bell Mobile Workforce Center Monee Park District Monee Township Moving Will County Music and memory NACo neuter/spay Nick Palmer Organix Pam Rodriguez paper shredding Pastor Dwayne Barfield Penny Curran permits Pilcher Park Pilcher Park Nature Center Plainfield United Methodist Prairie State Legal Services pumpkin composting Pumpkin Pitch Recyclepalooza recycling Resource Recovery and Energy Resource Recovery and Energy Division Resume Gallery Rethink Water campaign Rolonda Mitchell rural historic structures Samantha Bluemer Savers Savers. WJOL school garden Scott Slocum Seeds of Change Grant Program Sharefest sign language solar group buy Solarize Chicagoland Spirit of Community Caring Award St. Vincent DePaul Sunny Hill Nursing Home Sunny Hill Nursing Home of Will County Susan Flessner Susan Olenek swimming pools Ted Slowik textile collection textile recycling The Daily Southtown The Friends of Sunny Hill Inc. Three Rivers Association of Realtors Tim Anderson tire collection USAgain veterans Veterans Day vision and hearing screening vow renewal warming centers Warren-Sharpe Community Center Washington Township Wayne Breitbarth weather related closings West Nile Virus Will County Will County Center for Community Concerns Will County Executive Denise Winfrey Will County Executive Larry Walsh Will County Executive Larry Walsh Midwest Renewabl Will County Farm Bureau Will County Health Department Will County Historic Preservation Commission Will County Land Use Department Will County Office Building Will County TB clinic Will County Veterans Affairs Commission Will County Workforce Center Will County Workforce Services Division William E. Young School WJOL Workforce Center of Will County Workforce Investment Board Workforce Services Division Workforce Services Division of Will County Workforce Services Division releases November work workshops Youth Provider Workshop