West Virginia
State Grange
Deaf Activities

4043 Mound Street
Weirton, WV 26062

Carol Kennedy
Deaf Activities Director

Officers and Members
Historical Background
Photo Gallery
Current and Upcoming Events
Links To Related Sites


The purpose of the Grange health project, Grange Deaf Activities, is to serve deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing people:

*** to encourage education of Grange members and non-Grange
    persons regarding deafness, including understanding the 
    need for communication access by deaf and hard of hearing

*** to promote hearing protection

*** to provide information about the hazards of noise

*** to develop new programs and projects that will meet the
    above criteria.

Further, to create interest in our health project at all Grange levels, to increase participation; and strengthen the image of the Grange.

Communication is the #1 priority for deaf and hard of hearing people.

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Delegates at the National Grange Session instructed the Director of Women's Activities to look into the feasibility of promoting a specific health project, "namely the deaf."

Raised funds to support Council of Organizations Serving the Deaf through the Anne Sullivan Memorial Fund. In cooperation with COSD a pamphlet was produced to help Granges with ideas for participation in the deaf program. Mary Jane Rhodes of the COSD said, "if someone had told me ten years ago, or even five years ago, that a time would come when a group like the Grange would reach out to deaf people, I would have found it beyond my comprehension. For so many years I felt almost alone in trying to explain deafness to hearing people. God bless you for bringing the problems of deafness to the attention of the Grange membership." Sister Alta Peck, Women's Activities Director did considerable research and worked with numerous deaf-related agencies. Following a presentation at the Women's Activities Banquet (at the convention) persons sitting at the press table collected $28.25 -- it was this amount that was responsible for the beginning of the Anne Sullivan Memorial Fund.

$6,537.48 contributed to the Anne Sullivan Memorial Fund. National Grange became an associate member of the Council of Organizations Serving the Deaf. Sister Peck reported that the National Grange became the first national organization to offer active support of deaf and hard of hearing persons. Strong promotion of deaf awareness. Began a used hearing aid batteries recycling project.

Continued promotion of deaf awareness that the hearing community could better understand deafness. Anne Sullivan Memorial Fund donations this year: $6,556.63 + $2136.35 raised in special promotions -- total:$8,692.98.

Established National Grange Deaf Fund. Grange financed production of 125 TV spots entitled "I Hear Your Hand." Reported that deaf program "growing by leaps and bounds." Deaf Fund donations this year: $17,481.51.

Financed production of 250 copies of the TV spot "I Hear Your Hand" and 42 copies of the 3-minute film of same title. Printed and distributed 500 sets of sign language flash cards for Junior Grangers. Began teaching signed singing to Grange Youth. Young Granger choir performs at National Grange Session under the direction of Pastor Dan Pokorny, Gallaudet College Chaplain. Better Hearing Month in May was reported. A film- slide series of "Friendly Ears That do not Hear" purchased and and available for loan by Granges. First Lady of National Grange, Dorothy Scott did extensive research on deafness. Deaf Fund donations this year: $11,370.70.

Developed and produced the world's first sign language song book, LIFT UP YOUR HANDS. Copyrighted by the National Grange. Awarded $500 scholarship to deaf seminary student to study abroad. Sign language flash cards still available for Junior Granges. Deaf Fund contributions this year: $13,627.29.

Purchased and distributed 2,000 sets of Children's Sign Language Playing Cards for use by Junior Granges. Purchased 68 sets of Signing Exact English teaching kits for use by State Grange Women's Activities Directors. $500 Scholarship given to a Gallaudet University student. Talk of need for hearing protection for farmers. Second printing of LIFT UP YOUR HANDS, Volume I. Deaf Fund contributions this year: $11,340.30.

Established Summer Intern Program at the National Grange Office for summer of 1978. Wade Cadle, Tennessee, interned. Produced first pamphlet outlining history of deaf program. Purchased TTY (Porta-Tel) for educational purposes. Delegates at the National Grange Session established general guidelines for creation of deaf activities committee. To date 12,000 copies of LIFT UP YOUR HANDS, Volume I sold. Deaf Fund donations this year: $8,020.84.

National Grange Deaf Activities Committee organized: Mrs. R.G. (Flo) Carter, Texas, as Chairman. Committee members: Karen Anderson,CA; Elmira Collins, ME; Mary Jo Zanton,WI, to work in conjunction with the National Grange Lecturer, Kermit Richardson; Women's Activities Director, Jenny Grobusky; Youth Director, Bill Steel; Junior Director,Patty Carncross; Wade Cadle, Advisor. Goals and objectives defined. NATIONAL GRANGE DEAF FUND given FOUNDATION STATUS. Two SCHOLARSHIPS awarded to Grange members studying deaf education -- Andrea Valentine,DE and Andrea Leak,TX. Dogs for the Deaf program assigned to Junior Grange Department. SIGN A SONG CONTEST promoted by Youth Department. Deaf Fund donations this year: $9,559.54.

Second Songbook, LIFT UP YOUR HANDS, Volume II, published. State Grange Deaf Project Funding program established. Educational project for elementary schools outlined -- (Sound and Hearing Teaching Packet.) Deaf Fund donations: $6,281.24.

SOUND AND HEARING TEACHING PACKET developed by National Grange Deaf Activities Committee and distributed to 10,000 4th, 5th, and 6th grade teachers. Several Dogs for the Deaf purchased on national level as well as within some individual states. Scholarship Program expanded to aid members majoring in courses to benefit deaf and hard of hearing persons. (Deaf Education, Audiology, Counseling and Rehabilitation, and Interpreting.) Scholarships awarded to five Grange members -- Sarah J. Jeffers,IL; Karen S. Barnett,OH; Evelyn R. Keeler,MA; Stanley B. Barringer,NY; Kathryn H. Kane,NY. Logo chosen -- I Love You sign with Grange emblem in palm of hand. Florida State Grange and Kansas State Grange received $500 each from the State Grange Project Funding Program. Deaf Fund donations this year: $20,106.42.

Beulah Winter, Michigan, appointed Chairman, National Grange Deaf Actvities Committee. OFFICIAL NAME CHOSEN -- GRANGE DEAF ACTIVITIES. Sound and Hearing Program repeated. Scholarship Program expanded to include deaf Grange or non-Grange member. Five Scholarships awarded: Mauri Heath,NH; Stanley Barringer,NY; Kathryn Kane Barringer,NY; Julie Hann,OH; Karen Knight,TX. Bi-monthly newsletter to State Grange Masters and State Grange Deaf Activities Chairmen. ANNUAL NEWSLETTER to all Granges. Dogs for the Deaf discontinued from the National Grange program. Display and Conference at National Grange Session. Hearing protection program grows. Colorado State Grange and Florida State Grange awarded $500 each from State Grange Funding Project Program. Deaf fund donations this year: $13,938.00.

Scholarship program expanded to include two for deaf persons entering the field of teaching. Six scholarships awarded, one to a deaf person: Lauri Purcell,Illinois; Kimberly Devenport,Maryland; Jason Stone,New Jersey; Julie Hann,Ohio; Pamela Humble,Pennsylvania (deaf); Karen Knight, Texas. Hearing protection program highlighted by placing 20 slide-tape sets, NOISE, THE INVISIBLE AGRICULTURAL HAZARD, in the the Grange Farm Film Foundation. Grange Deaf Activities pays maintenance costs for slide sets which are available at no cost to Granges. Grange Deaf Activities button designed and brochure re-designed. Florida State Grange received $500 from State Grange Project Funding Program. Deaf Fund donations this year: $9,364.88.

First appeal letter sent to Subordinate and Pomona Granges for Grange Foundation - Deaf Division. HELD FIRST NATIONAL COMPETITION IN SIGN A SONG CONTEST in Portland, Maine. Pennsylvania State Grange provided sponsorship. Awarded three scholarships: Julie Hann,Ohio; Jason Stone, New Jersey; Dana Perez,Texas. Heavy usage of hearing protection slide set. State Grange Project Funding Program discontinued. Deaf Fund donations this year: $15,080.97.

Distribution of LIFT UP YOUR HANDS, VOLUMES I AND II continues. The National Association for the Deaf says that the Sound and Hearing Teaching Packet is best material available today for this purpose. Teachers give excellent reviews. New Hampshire State Grange sponsored Sign a Song Contest. State, Pomona, Subordinate, and Junior Granges continue to increase activity. Approximately 1,500 local chairmen. Slide set on everyday noise being produced. Four scholarships given: three to hearing Grange members, one to a deaf non-member, Angela Munn,New Jersey. Hearing Grange members are Cheryl McCann,Maryland; Carolynne Arch,New Jersey; Dana Perez,Texas. Deaf fund donations this year: $17,405.56.

Lois Austin, California, appointed Chairman, National Grange Deaf Activities. No scholarships awarded. Committee voted to produce new slide set on everyday noise. Ohio State Grange sponsored Sign a Song Contest. Deaf Fund donations this year: $14,518.00.

Scholarships awarded to hearing member Dawn Laupp,Michigan; deaf persons Shirley Yee,California; Kimberly Hessheimer,Nebraska. Maine State Grange sponsored Sign a Song Contest. New hearing protection slide show released at National Grange Convention, "Listen to the Wind." Available for sale at $25.00 per set. Deaf Fund donations this year: $11,157.00.

Beulah Winter, Michigan, appointed Director, National Grange Deaf Activities. Scholarships awarded to hearing members, Cara Magee,IL; Dawn Laupp,Michigan; Michelle Swainston,Michigan; Elizabeth Weers,Michigan; deaf person,non- member, Michael Remington, Colorado. Connecticut State Grange sponsored Sign A Song Contest. Hearing protection materials accepted from Michigan State Grange (it was a gift): "Your Noisy World -- Could Get Silent" poster and brochure -- available to Granges at nominal cost. Joined Council for Better Hearing and Speech Month, a consortium of national deaf related organizations. Deaf Fund donations this year: $17,994.52

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE in Sign Language poster developed and produced. Scholarship (original) program discontinued. Scholarship Program ($1000) established fo Gallaudet University, only liberal arts university for deaf students in the world. Continued membership in Council for Better Hearing and Speech Month. "Listen to the Wind" slide show converted to video. Sound and Hearing Educational Packet continues to be effective. Sign songbooks also continue to be widely distributed. National Grange participated in Better Hearing and Speech Month Kick-Off Parade in Washington,D.C.; Thurmont Junior Grange, Maryland represented all Granges in the parade. Deaf Fund donations this year: $14,140.00.

National deaf program given department status. Second printing of Pledge of Allegiance in Sign Language poster. New committee structure adopted. Advisory Committee members appointed by National Master -- George Spies, Illinois, three years; Lois Steele, Professional Interpreter, Pennsylvania, two years; Joan Kennel, Nebraska State Grange Deaf Activities Director, one year; Harry Massey, Ex-Officio. (Financial Expert, 3 years; representative of deaf community, 2 years; State Director, 1 year.) Membership in Council for Better Hearing and Speech Month. Appeal for funds continues. All other projects/programs continue. The Seventh Degree and Convocation were interpreted in sign language for the first time in the history of the Grange, Lois Steele, interpreter. Session was held in Wichita, Kansas. Lois Steele also interpreted the Sign a Song Contest and the Deaf Activities Conference. Deaf Fund donations this year: $15,011.90.

Membership in the Council for Better Hearing and Speech Month continues. National Master and First Lady Robert and Dolores Barrow attended the May 1 Kickoff Luncheon of Better Hearing and Speech Month in Washington, D.C. Beulah Winter Director of NGDA and Roland Winter, National Grange Executive Committee member; and Judy Massabny, Director of Information for the National Grange also attended. On April 30,1991 Robert E. Barrow, National Grange Master and Beulah L. Winter, National Grange Deaf Activites Director presented $10,000 to Gallaudet University to be used in an endowment fund for a work/study program -- interest to be used each year to assiste deaf students. The presentation was made to Dr. I. King Jordan, Deaf President. Deaf Activities was included in National Grange Regional Conferences for the first time in the history of the Grange. Kara Shultz, Director of Deaf Activities for the Colorado State Grange was appointed to the NGDA Advisory Committee. George Spies, Lois Steele, and Harry Massey continue on the Advisory Committee. New projects included a poster on communication for hard of hearing people, title "Senior Americans' Guide to Better Hearing." An NGDA logo pin (of the U.S.) and Honor Class certificate were introduced for use in raising additional funds for National Grange Deaf Activities. Receipt of pin requires a donation to NGDA in the amount of $100. Logo changed to USA image with ear and sound waves across the country indicating an inclusive program for all deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing people. A second newsletter to all Granges received approval; newsletter to all Granges, in May and September. All other programs/projects continued. Received printing plates from Sertoma Foundation for Good Vibes newpaper (no charge, value $15,000) with approval to make several changes to reflect Grange Deaf Activities. Printed 10,000 copies. Brochure redesigned and updated. Seventh Degree interpreted by Lois Steele, Professional Interpreter and Pennsylvania State Grange Deaf Activities Director. Deaf fund donations this year: $17,065.68

Third printing of Pledge of Allegiance in Sign Language Poster. Membership in Council for Better Hearing and Speech Month continues. LIFT UP YOUR HANDS sign songbooks Volumes I and II combined into one book. Council for Better Hearing and Speech Month membership, Sound & Hearing, Listen to the Wind, Senior Americans' guide to Better Hearing, Noisy World Poster and Brochure, and newsletters continue as viable parts of the National Grange Deaf Activities program. Appeal letter and funding options continue. Funding continued to increase. Janet Price, Ohio State Grange Deaf Activities Director appointed to National Grange Deaf Activities Advisory Committee for one year; Leslie Smith, California State Grange appointed for two years to represent the deaf community. Seventh Degree interpreted by Lois Steele. $2,000.00 added to National Grange Endowment Fund for Gallaudet University Intern Program. Legislative Department member, Jeff Kramer and National Grange Deaf Activities Director did much research and study on the Americans with Disabilities Act. Deaf fund donations this year: $20,399.00.

Elizabeth Wade, Washington State Grange appointed to NGDA as financial expert for three years, Natalie Clifford, Maine, State Director, Leslie Smith, California, continues as representative of deaf community. Lois Steele signed the 7th Degree. RID Certified interpreters signed the Public Speaking Contest and the Sign A Song Contest. Deaf Activities Conference was interpreted by Leslie Smith and Lois Steele. Produced a brochure for Granges on the Amercians with Disabilities Act. A new project, the American Manual Alphabet Poster introduced at National Convention. Approval received to use Gallaudet University's American Sign Language alphabet. Deaf Activities Department was highlighted at Master's Awards dinner Monday evening, November 8, 1993 -- National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Had place mats with Grange emblem and mnual alphabet poster. Sign language choir of 1st and 2nd graders entertained. Newsletters discontinued and replaced by Grange Deaf Activities Action Packet which was mailed to all Deaf Activities Chairmen (September); articles in each issue of GRANGE TODAY. Appeal letter mailed in May. $2,000 added to National Grange Endowment Gallaudet University Intern Fund. All other projects/programs continued. Deaf Fund donations this year: $19,732.07.

National Grange served as chair of Council for Better Hearing and Speech Month 1994 campaign with Harry Massey as Steering Committee Chairman. Fourth printing of Pledge of Allegiance in Sign Language poster. Committee members -- Elizabeth Wade,Washington; Patricia Cleverley,deaf community representative, New York; Marie Thelen,State Directors,Michigan; and Harry Massey, Ex-Officio. $2,000 added to Gallaudet University Endowment. Annual appeal letter. Funding over the top this year. the Seventh Degree was not signed. Need for this service was not indicated. Grange Deaf Activities Action Packet prepared by Director and mailed to all Granges. Articles included in GRANGE TODAY. Special incentive pin reproduced in new color - gold. Deaf Fund donations this year: $21,351.60.

Membership in Council for Better Hearing and Speech Month with Walter Johnson new National Grange Membership Director and ex-officio member of the Deaf Activities Committee attending monthly meetings. National Master and First Lady attended reception and dinner at Gallaudet University. Walter Johnson participated in Kickoff events for Council for Better Hearing and Speech Month; committee member Patricia Cleverley attended Kickoff Luncheon in Director Beulah Winter's absence (due to illness). Committee members are Elizabeth Wade, Marie Thelen, Patricia Cleverley. $2,000 to Gallaudet University National Grange Endowment Fund. All projects/programs continued. Seventh Degree interpreted in Sign Language by Lois Steele. Annual appeal letter; funding down. Grange Deaf Activities Action Packet prepared by Director and mailed to all Granges. Continued with information to Granges with articles in GRANGE TODAY. Deaf Fund donations this year: $18,561.71.

Total Amount Donated to National Grange Deaf Fund

It is hoped that this brief listing of events, projects, and accomplishments of the Grange health project, Grange Deaf Activities, will serve to enlighten members, and others, about the impact of the program over the twenty-five years that it has been part of the National Grange.

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Northern Panhandle Ponoma 12

Jefferson Grange 489

Meetings: Second and Fourth Mondays at 7:00 PM

Goodwill Grange 499

Meetings: First and Third Mondays at 7:00 PM

Fairview Grange 446

Meetings: Every Third Monday at 7:00PM

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Historical Background

The Grange Health project, Grange Deaf Activities began in November 1970 when delegates of the National Grange Convention voted to adopt a program that would serve deaf and hard of hearing persons. The Women's Activities Department was given the responsibility of researching the issue and developing a program that would serve deafness and which would interest Grange members. It was the intent of the delegates to build a program that would be synonymous with the name of the Grange.

Early projects included working with the Council of Organizations Serving the Deaf (COSD); the Anne Sullivan Memorial Fund; public service announcements for television and radio stations; sign language flash cards for the Junior Grange; two sign songbooks, promotion of sign language; the Sign a Song Contest; and the Sound and Hearing teaching packet. Other educational materials became a part of the program: the Pledge of Allegiance in Sign Language poster, a Manual Alphabet poster; a slide show about hearing protection, and a poster specifically for Senior Americans. In addition, newletters (and now the Action Packet) were provided to Granges with the purpose of educating members and non-members.

Grange Deaf Activities receives funding from donations made by Granges and individuals throughout the country.

In 1998, we can truly say that we have followed the instructions set forth by the delegates in 1970 and that, in many places, the Grange name is synonymous with deafness.


"Lift Up Your Hands", the National Grange sign songbook was one of the first major projects of the deaf program. This pioneering songbook is said to be the first to combine music, words, and signs and was developed to introduce the hearing world to signing and to show the joy of communicating with persons who are deaf.

Leaders and members became interested in sign language and signed songs in the early days of the program and soon discovered that resources were hard to find. The Grange, with the help of Gallaudet College (now Gallaudet University) researched, developed, and produced the first sign songbook, "Lift Up Your Hands" in 1976. It wasn't long before the book was in its second printing. A second sign songbook was produced in 1980, "Lift Up Your Hands, Volume II." And in 1992 the two books were combined.

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