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CELEBRATION OF COMMUNITY, LANGUAGE DIFFERENCES

Valerie Carter and her daughter, Grace. Carter founded GraceSigns after American Sign Language provided a way to communicate with her daughter.

   GraceSigns, a nonprofit that develops mobile apps that promote learning American Sign Language, held their first community appreciation event at Piper Park in Larkspur on Sept. 17. 

   The gathering brought together 100 guests who have supported the mission of GraceSigns to create sign language apps that embrace language and celebrate the differences among all. Participants enjoyed pizza by deaf-run pizza truck Mozzeria, music and dancing with a DJ, ice cream and other activities.  

Event participants enjoy pizza and games in Piper Park at GraceSigns’ event on Sept. 17.
Photos courtesy of GraceSigns.org/Randi Curhan

   Valerie Carter founded GraceSigns in 2013, inspired by her daughter, Grace, who was born with 001Nn syndrome and Apraxia, making verbal communication extremely difficult and frustrating. They began using sign language to communicate. 

   “As a young child, Grace couldn’t express herself. She would often come home from school unable to talk about her day,” Carter said. “We were both equally frustrated so we began to learn sign language. It was a huge breakthrough.”

   The free apps can also be used by anyone who is non-verbal and can be used as a tool for language development in young children. 

   There are three free apps available:

  • “Sign Me a Story” brings four adventure stories to life with ASL through videos and cartoons.
  • “Sign Me ABCs” teaches the basic building blocks of ASL with the 26 letters of the English alphabet and 26 animal signs via videos, cartoons, music and games.
  • “Sign Me a Sentence” features over 75 engaging, simple ESL sentences for daily living.

For more information or to download the free apps, visit gracesigns.org.

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