How the heck am I about to move across a pond and open a business? I will explain momentarily, but I want to first share some of the history behind DWG.
Kyle Duarte and I have been friends for a very long time. We both had visions that were similar and doing something purposeful to positively impact our community has been at the forefront of our conversations. When we use the term community it encompasses the Deaf Community and the Hearing Community because your community is where you live, work and play and includes all the people you interact with throughout your day. Over the years, communities have changed. There have been so many changes that have impacted (some would say negatively) our communities. Think about family structures, civic/social engagement, increased mobility, technology (including: Internet, Social Media, Smart Phones & VRS). I don't want to bore you but life has changed for many and you can look back and see those changes very clearly even over the last 50 years. Here in America we have become more independent and more isolated than ever. Those of us who are involved in the Deaf Community know that historically this is the opposite. I would venture to say that many Deaf People have noticed the changes as well within their communities. In general, families are breaking up, people are less involved in civic clubs, social organizations, volunteerism and even philanthropy, more people are moving out of cities and into suburbs, and technology has made it easier for people to communicate directly with each other without having to meet face to face. Changes are here.
Kyle Duarte and I both support community cohesiveness and wanting to see a place that was clearly accessible for Deaf people. We envision the workplace being a place where Deaf people were able to have equal opportunities to build solid relationships with their colleagues, have increased promotability etc. We want to see homes be a place where parents understand the value of communication so that family bonds will be strengthened. We want children to grow up in schools with peers, teachers and administrators have the tools and resources needed to truly educated Deaf Children and not continue to leave them behind because its the small percent that won't impact their test scores too much. We want Deaf people to have opportunity to travel, and to experience the many places their home cities have to offer but also have opportunities to travel the globe to broaden horizons.
Years ago, when Kyle Duarte and I began sharing our passions and dreams, we bought a website, we named a company and dabbled in it. However, around that same time, he was offered an opportunity to do doctoral research in France. It was an opportunity that no person should have turned down, and so he did in fact accept it and relocate. During this time, we talked about our project ideas still but we had to put it on the back burner a bit as he was focused on his studies, I was continuing my education as well working on my Masters and the timing was just not right. Our vision was huge and how to best tackle it was a bit overwhelming. Kyle moved back this year from France and I am moving to Scotland. We continue to pass each other but we both realized that even though I am now moving it is time to begin to stop talking and start acting.
I shared some more fine tuned program ideas that I have been dabbling in over the last year with Kyle a little bit before the Street Leverage conference in Atlanta. We would meet there and make a plan. It was there that he introduced me to Patrick Graham (PJ). Patrick Graham is a doctoral research assistant at the University of Georgia. His dissertation focus on how Deaf preschool children become embodied members of the Deaf community while attending schools. He has interests that lie in comparative and international education, multicultural and multilingual programs for young children and teacher preparation programs. He was a perfect fit, in both personality and passions.
This weekend was spent in Nashville- Friday, Saturday and Sunday we worked through the business. DWG Consultants was created. We have a lot of great plans and projects and are still in the process of getting everything up and running. However, we are thankful for your support and are excited to have movement. Please LIKE our page on Facebook and be on the look out for programs near you. Also if you have a specific cultural, educational or accessibility training need please let us know.
Providing Cultural, educational, and accessibility consulting programs to advance opportunities in families, schools, workplaces, and communities.
IN SCHOOLS: We aim to see inclusive education gather strength in schools given America’s changing cultural and linguistic landscape. This is effected through the development of modern rigorous pedagogical materials; cultural and professional training for students, educators, and administrators; and a global network of partners pursuing equitable education.
IN THE WORKPLACE: We aim to reframe diversity expectations in the workforce by supporting interpersonal relationships, perspective sharing, team building, and solution design. In so doing, organizations are better able to capitalize on the many benefits of an increasingly diverse workforce.
IN COMMUNITIES: We aim to reconceptualize positive community experiences for all citizens in partnership with nonprofit organizations and public entities. Network learning strategies are employed to organically build community awareness and strengthen collective experiences among neighbors.