– Lisa McClung, Hands of Praise – A Sign Language Ministry
– I am Tamara Taylor and I approve this message.
Hi!.....I was born profoundly deaf and wear hearing aids. I am a single mother, and my children are hearing.
This year (2016), with the help of God’s Hands Agency, I made a huge step out of my comfort zone after being employed in dead end, under-paying jobs for the last 24 years.
I did not join Deaf culture until 2006. What that mean is, I started school as a hard-of-hearing kid and did not learn sign language until middle school when I recognized Deaf students signing. I later graduated high school with a standard high school diploma.
All of my life I really did not have a mentor or role model. I had to learn the hard way until I met
Earline Blumhagen in 2006.
I was finish saved, but not right with God. I needed and wanted to learn the baby steps of becoming Christ-like... and that’s when I met Earline at a GHA sponsored Spring Break Camp for CODA (Children Of Deaf Adults). From there I started being very involved with God’s Hands Agency. Thru GHA I have learned all kinds of things I needed to know. Earline has been a mentor, leader, advisor, and very supportive. I now volunteer for GHA sponsored events often.
The GHA organization is all about helping the Deaf and Hearing bridge the gaps.
Since 2006, I have served in 2 very demanding leadership roles. I am the past President of FBDA (Florida Black Deaf Advocates) 2014-2016, as well as the Administrative Assistant/Secretary for the ASL Ministry of the Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church from 2008 to the present time.
God’s Hands Agency has inspired me and helped me become a passionate servant leader. I am now back in school, majoring in Deaf Education, because I want to work as a Social Worker or as an Administrator. I am also taking online classes to become a CDI (Certified Deaf Interpreter).
My ultimate goal is to serve in Deaf communities and schools, to help Deaf youth andadults reach their goals.
Thank you God’s Hands Agency, I am on my way!
GHA was founded in 1999 by the mother of a son whose meningitis 12 years earlier required a special medicine to save his life. That medicine, however, also often caused the side effect of deafness. And deafness came. And the boy would sit in the middle of the floor and hollar. And that mother would sit down beside her son and hollar with him. Just hollar.
Despite the challenge, though, that mother still had a burning desire to help him be all that he could be. In her quest to help her own son she soon discovered the absence of existing supports for both she and her son. With the understanding that learning what would soon become his primary language was a pivotal key to his success, this mother set out to first identify and “bridge all the gaps” that stood between the her son and opportunity. Her doing so started what is known today as TCI, The Community Interpreters.
This same mother through her vocation as a Family Representative, working with grieving families for jab designs orlando, soon discovered that the information and resources needed to help these families get on their journey to healthy grieving also went lacking in community support and resources. For many years she stood broken as she took notice of the many unresolved grief issues in families, including her own. Through her personalized strategic followup with more than 2000 families, she found that the pain of loosing a loved is much more than many are able to bear, and so we see a vicious cycle of “hurting people that hurt people.” Thus, LAG, a program of GHA, was identified in 2007 as the program to house community supports and opportunities for individuals and families of Central Florida.
Through more than eighteen months of sacrificial travel, studies and working with thousands of parents throughout the state of Florida, this mother, a Parent Education Specialist for the state of Florida PIRC (Parent Information Resource Center), saw time after time that the impact of parent involvement is crystal clear. Children who are encouraged, succeed. Hearing OR Deaf, Black OR White, Rich OR Poor. Young people MUST be taught values such as respect, compassion, hard work, and a love for learning.
Children raised in a home where support, positive discipline, and accountability are present, are MUCH more likely to thrive in the classroom and in life. I am that mother of that 2-year-old child who almost died from meningitis – and 16 years later, you can see the photo above to the left, Reggie enthusiastically graduated from FSDB high school with a STANDARD diploma [not merely a Certificate of Attendance, as MOST Deaf in Florida do]. He currently lives in Tucson, Arizona, and works for Goodwill Industries.
NO family is exempt from the challenges of raising healthy, motivated, and engaged kids. No matter who is doing the parenting: mothers, fathers, grandparents, god-parents, step-parents, foster parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, or other adults – parents, communities and schools MUST partner in the quest to help every child succeed.
Hi! I am Lisa McClung, a long-time friend of Earline Blumhagen, and a proud partner with God's Hands Agency, Inc. God uses me to serve Him often through opportunities I get wind of through GHA.
Here's the story of just one of those opportunities.
I first met Tammy and Arthur Brown when Earline introduced us back on June 29th, 2012. It was that day that she took this picture of Tammy and I. Little did I know that we would become such great friends! Tammy & Arthur, are married and are both Deaf. Neither have family in their lives, so they live at an adult Special-Needs Apartment community in Apopka, Florida.
At the time I met them, I had been doing pet therapy with my dog Annie at Nursing Homes for well over 10 years. So, when Tammy told me how much she loved dogs I started bringing my dog Annie to visit with she and Arthur.
Today I'm still doing pet therapy with the addition of another dog my husband and I rescued named Joy! Joy is so affectionate, she kisses Tammy's arms and legs while Tammy sits in her wheelchair, and Tammy loves it. She laughs so hard. Her laughter, the joy she's experiencing during these visits is really contagious.
I also helped coordinate and orchestrated transportation for both Tammy and Arthur through Lynx Access. What a feat that was, but we got the Mission Accomplished. Just trying to get them to their new church every Sunday, less than a mile away from their home was a huge challenge, but we got her done. I also try and help them get to church events, as the fun fellowship is really very important for them as well.
Every Sunday morning I would drive to their home, wait on the Lynx Access bus to pick them up, I would follow them to church, stay at church with them and then follow them back home. I did all of this to make sure they got there safe and sound. I did this for about 3 months before I was finally convinced that everything would run smoothly for them.
As often as possible I take Tammy & Arthur out to a Denny's restaurant for breakfast, which they enjoy so very much! Tammy & Arthur are so happy when we're together like this. They smile the whole time. You would not believe the joy that simply sitting, and eating and fellowshipping can bring to the lives of others.
I know God is smiling down at us! What an honor it is to serve our mighty God and show His love to others! Thank you to the other friends and partners of God's Hands Agency too, because together we are making a difference.
As Earline often says, “It's ALL Ministry, right?”
– Earline E. Blumhagen, co-founder of GHA
God's Hands Agency, Inc.