Another week of self-isolation and social distancing means people are finding ways to pass the time while staying at home.
A deaf woman from the Hudson Valley is helping her community learn American Sign Language or ASL.
Dr. Jennifer Delora, owner of Access Deaf Consulting and known in the deaf community as Red Jen, is teaching her classes virtually now that her normal venue is closed and sessions halted to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
“I wanted to offer something that was important for people to learn that they could enjoy. And that, again, fostered inclusion for everybody,” said Delora.
So twice a week, she offers free 30-minute American Sign Language classes online along with a weekend sign-a-long to a popular tune.
"Why not offer the skills that I do have to people and let them have a new experience and learn something? And then maybe when this is all over, they may want to take classes where they live, and become more involved," she said.
Delora also said it was important for her to do this because she wanted people who are interested in learning sign language to do it the right way and to learn about the deaf community culture.
"They get the full experience, you know, but I'm teaching as much as I can for people to stay motivated and interested and to learn a little bit about why I'm doing it and about deaf people," Delora said.
One of the things people will learn in the class is that facial expression and description are an important part of the language.
"They learn whole phrases on how to introduce themselves and have a basic introductory conversation,” said Delora.
Delora hopes that with people taking her classes, they will be able to have better interactions with the deaf community and the ability to communicate with them.
She said she wants “to make my fellow deaf people proud. And I want to do what's right for them, so that they also can have people might go over and be able to sign properly.”
For more information on Dr. Delora’s free ASL classes, go to her Facebook page. Classes are held Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m. and the Sign-A-Longs are on Saturdays at 7 p.m. as well.