At 13-years-old, Cole teaches sign language to people at the climbing gym, neighbors at the movie theater, and strangers in the grocery store aisle.
He’s an ambassador, his mother Marisa Quiterio laughs, “We call him the future governor.”
Cole is gregarious, bright-eyed, free of any self-consciousness about his hearing aids. He invites conversation and explains his bilingual skills with excitement.
“Isaiah gave me my sign name,” says Hannah Perry. It’s the combination of the letter “H” and the sign for “excited”. “Because he said I was always happy,” she laughs.
Hannah is the assistant crew supervisor for the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps (RMYC). She and Isaiah Peterson, who is deaf, became friends the summer they both worked on the banks of the Rio Grande removing invasive Siberian elm and salt cedar with RMYC.
“Hannah is so great. All of the team members were fantastic. We became a family,” Isaiah says. Even though the work was grueling at times — “it was really hot, we were constantly drinking water, the wind kicks sand in your eyes” — he loved the problem solving and the teamwork — “if there was a communication barrier, you couldn’t just give up, we had to resolve it together.” …
Therese Garcia’s sons, 12-year-old twins Jared and Forrest and nine-year-old Noah, play chess with their uncle on weekends. They learn new strategies while teasing and joking.
“I grew up an only child and wondered what it would be like to have a close relationship to siblings,” says Therese. “So it was important for my sons to be surrounded by family.”
Her three boys are hearing, and their uncle Tim is deaf.
When Therese found the Albuquerque Sign Language Academy (ASL Academy), it was the first and only school that would allow her hearing sons to learn American Sign Language alongside English academics. …