By: Joshua Danker-Dake | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: March 2010
Denise Frihart, Lisa Adams, committee chair, and helpers with auction items for the 16th annual Happy Hands Silent Auction and Dinner.
The first three years of a child’s life are a crucial formative time for that child’s language and pre-literacy development. Without these basic communication abilities, children can become frustrated and have difficulty with the education process later in life, and studies have shown this is especially true among deaf children and children with hearing loss.
Happy Hands, established in 1993, is a Christian education center for children who are deaf or who have other communicative disorders. Happy Hands serves children ages six weeks through six years old, and offers a full-time, year-round program to help these children develop their language and communication skills through visual, auditory and oral communication methods, so that they can achieve literacy and success in future academic endeavors. Happy Hands has a full-time speech pathologist on staff, and all teachers are certified in their areas of expertise. “We serve kids with hearing loss as well as kids who have parents or siblings with hearing loss,” says Denise Frihart, development director. “We’re the only center in Oklahoma that serves this population of children from birth, full-time.”
Happy Hands encourages parents to come to the school, to observe, to volunteer, and to immerse themselves in the activities.
Happy Hands receives about 80 percent of its funding from donations – only 20 percent comes from tuition. On Saturday, March 27, Happy Hands is hosting its 16th annual Silent Auction and Dinner at Northeastern State University’s Broken Arrow campus. All proceeds will directly benefit the children at Happy Hands. “This is one of our two big fundraisers of the year,” says Frihart. (The other is a golf tournament in September.)
Auction items include Walt Disney World passes; vacation packages; gift certificates from local businesses including the Spa, Organizing Solutions and Jackie Cooper Imports; certificates from local eateries including the Petroleum Club of Tulsa and the Canebrake in Wagoner; gift baskets from Seeking Sitters, Checkmark Concierge, Zio’s, Arbonne, local wineries, and Tulsa Business Baskets; and works of art from both local and national artists.
In April, Happy Hands will be moving into its new, bigger facility at 8801 S. Garnett. This 20,000-square-foot education center, funded in large part by a grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, will allow Happy Hands to serve up to 70 children and their families – more than double the number than they can currently accommodate.
Happy Hands is always looking for volunteers. There are many ways you can serve – you can help at the school, in the classroom or at lunch, or you can help with fundraising events.
The 16th annual Happy Hands Silent Auction and Dinner is Saturday, March 27 at 6 p.m. at NSU’s Broken Arrow Campus (3100 E. New Orleans). Tickets are $35. For more information on the event or the school, visit www.happyhands.org.