Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Extreme Makeover: Oregon School for the Deaf

I'll admit, I don't usually watch Extreme Makeover. I like it when they help people in need, but it's such a high-energy, loud show that I usually don't stop on it when I'm flipping channels. I did, however, watch it on Sunday evening, because they were renovating the Oregon School for the Deaf. You can watch it here, supposedly with subtitles, although it doesn't want to load for me at the moment.

In the episode, they sent the boys away to receive free hearing aids from Starkey. I was actually sent a book (Heart and Soul by Robert L. Shook - I'll be writing a review later, and Speak Up Librarian also wrote about it) that talks about the Starkey Foundation a little bit.

While the boys were away, the team turned their former dormitory into a haunted house, and built a new dorm for them. The dorm featured some accessibility features like flashing lights to announce doorbells and a specially-made vibrating speaker system (though I was hoping for a vibrating floor, too).

I was curious about the Oregon School for the Deaf so I looked them up after the program. This is their website. The school was founded in 1870 by the Oregon Legislative Assembly. Naturally, since only the boys' dorm and the haunted house were renovated on the show, there are still parts of the school that were untouched; if you'd like to help them complete renovations, they've listed how to donate on this page.

I enjoyed the show and I think it did a lot to highlight the problems that schools like this face, and helped put the issue in the public eye. I hope the kids got enough time to learn about their new hearing aids, and I hope the show brings in plenty of donations for the school and others like it.

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