In Massachusetts, there is a little town, with a little girl, and a lot of love. Here, the neighbours truly make the neighbourhood a community; and the little girl has inspired everyone in this community to learn sign language just so they could communicate with her.
2-year-old Samantha Savitz is deaf. Although, that hasn’t stopped her from being an outgoing little toddler trying to chat up anyone she meets. Whenever she goes out into town with her parents, she starts signing away in the hopes that the person she’s talking to knows sign language too.
“She’s super engaging. She wants to chat-up with anybody.” – Raphael, her father
“Yeah, her whole personality changes when it’s someone who can communicate with her.” – Glenda, her mother
Normally, hearing impairment is a social barrier for those who don’t know how to speak sign language. Anyone she tried to talk to realized this and felt so sorry they couldn’t respond. They wished they could understand her and say something back. They’d find themselves completely frustrated at the loss for words.
Some of these neighbours told CBS News:
“I didn’t know what to say back. Wouldn’t you like to talk to her?” said one neighbour.
“Basic conversation that one would have with a child,” said another.
“Asking her about her day,” said a third.
“And make her feel that she is part of the neighbourhood,” said another neighbour.
“Just be her friend,” another neighbour added.
Then, a beautiful thing happened. Instead of this barrier causing a separation, it brought the community together. Determined to learn sign language so they could talk to Samantha, her neighbours began taking classes together.
On their own, they hired an instructor, Rhys McGovern; and now, they are fully immersed in an American Sign Language class with him. The teacher admits that this is a truly remarkable story because, quite often, even the parents of deaf children don’t bother to learn sign language. “But here Sam has a full community that’s signing and communicating with her and her family, and it is a beautiful story,” Rhys said.
He also says that this level of inclusion will make a huge difference in her life. It almost certainly guarantees that Sam will be a happier, more well-adjusted individual. Her parents are so grateful that they told everyone – there aren’t words in any language to express their gratitude. They are already noticing a difference in their daughter.
“Yea, it’s really shocking and beautiful,” Glenda said.
“We are so fortunate,” Raphael said.
“You should see her when she comes in at the end of class,” said one neighbour.
“The first thing she says to us is ‘friend,'” said another neighbour.
“I think your heart would melt just as mine did,” said another neighbour.
Watch the emotional video below to see for yourself how there are still places in the world with a true sense of community. These people show us all that “what makes a “good neighbourhood” is nothing more than good neighbours.”