The 27th annual Springtime in Paris festival last weekend was an excellent opportunity for Sensity to raise awareness of deafblindness and the work of our organization for National Deafblind Awareness Month in June.
More than 150 children and adults participated in a deafblind simulation activity at our busy booth in Lions Park on Saturday and Sunday. Visitors could interact with RC Store volunteers Alecia, Chris, Allison, Sean, Meaghan, Rena and their intervenors while they shopped an impressive collection of art and craft made by people who are deafblind. We also handed out information on volunteer and career opportunities at Sensity and our annual fundraising golf tournament.
Training coordinator Lindsay Border, scheduling coordinator Martha Adrian and event planning and fund development assistant Sam Gaspar led the deafblind simulations. Participants were asked to look over instructions how to make pipe cleaner butterflies and then try to make them while wearing special googles or a blindfold to simulate blindness and earmuffs to simulate being deaf.
Many of the participants shared thoughts about the experience with us.
“I was confused. It was hard to make,” nine-year-old Abbie said.
Eight-year-old Julian said his butterfly ended up looking like a “tentacle monster.”
He wore goggles that simulated being blind. He could see things, he said, but it was like looking through a pinhole.
“I couldn’t see that over there,” Julian said, pointing to playground equipment across the park.
“For the first time you’re unaware of what’s around you,” said Tracey, one of the parents to try to the simulation.
“It’s difficult when you don’t have a visual cue to figure out what you’re making,” said another parent, Sue, who tried the simulation with daughter Clara.
The RC Store rang up $226 in sales and importantly, it was a good experience for the six volunteers. Each of the volunteers was involved in at least one sale of merchandise.
“It was a successful weekend,” said RC Store coordinator Mike Merritt.
“Next year we’ll try to beat that,” he added.
Springtime in Paris was a multisensory experience for consumers including Aaron, Jordan, Daniel, Luca and Jason, all of whom stopped by our booth.
Thank you to the Kiwanis Club of Paris-Brant for organizing the event and ensuring our site was level to help with accessibility for our volunteers and visitors.