X
GO
Office of Will County Executive
Lawrence M. Walsh
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 21, 2016
For more information, contact:
Tammy; Reiher

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.

Contact author

x
Press Contacts

Anastasia Tuskey
Communications Director
Ph: 815-740-8376

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

«August 2019»
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2829
2957

Will County celebrates 24th garden in the We WILL Grow School and Community Garden Program

Another garden in the We WILL Grow School and Community Garden Program was dedicated on Saturday, July 27, at All Nations Church of God in Christ, 503 S. Water St. The garden is one of 24 community gardens in the Will County program.

Read more
3031123
45678
2972

Officials celebrate ribbon cutting at Will County Health Department in Monee

Will County Executive Larry Walsh joined Will County Board Speaker Denise Winfrey, Board Member Laurie Summers and Community Health Center CEO Mary Maragos at a ribbon cutting at the Will County Health Department location in Monee.

Read more
910
11121314
2984

Solarize Chicagoland surpasses second goal, lowering solar pricing

The Solarize Chicagoland group buy program is gaining momentum as it surpassed its second goal when the 22nd homeowner signed on to go solar.

Read more
151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
1234567

Tags

100th birthday 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 book recycling book recycling and reuse event book reuse and recycling Brayden Caraynoff-Haber Bruce Gould Caroline Portlock Charlotte Mather Citizen Utility Board closings Clothes 4 Work cooling centers County Executive Larry Walsh County Office Building Curt Paddock Danette Krieger David Dubois Deborah Alexander Deirdre Manigo Diane Brozman digital safety Director Curt Paddock document destruction Dr. L.P. Schild Earth Flag Awards Eastside Green House Eden Community Garden electronic recycling electronics recycling Emergency Management Agency 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 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 Music and memory neuter/spay Nick Palmer Organix 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 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 The Daily Southtown The Friends of Sunny Hill Inc. Three Rivers Association of Realtors Tim Anderson University of St. Francis 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 Larry Walsh 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