Thursday, August 11, 2011

Featured on Mill Neck School for the Deaf

Each year I volunteer at Mill Necks school for the Deaf which is located in Mill Neck, NY. It's about 30 minutes away from my house. I love volunteering at Mill Neck because I am surrounded by many people who are deaf/hard of hearing like myself. I also get to meet new friends. Mill Neck asked me to write why I like to volunteer. This is taken from Mill Neck's website. Once again for some reason I cannot add the link.

This article is supposed to be featured in a few of my local newspapers: Newsday, Daily news.

Special Fall Harvest Festival Volunteer Inspires 
“It’s as Natural to Me as Living”

Danielle Nicosia is one special volunteer, what with her outgoing and hardworking nature and willingness to help. A Fall Harvest Festival volunteer since 2007, Danielle has worked in the apple booths and sign language shop, both Saturday and Sunday, and through rain, sun and sometimes downright unpredictable weather. What keeps her coming back? “It’s a wonderful place! Every time I am there volunteering, I always enjoy helping and meeting new people. This is something I look forward to each year!” she happily explained.

Every Columbus Day weekend, 300+ volunteers, the life-blood of Mill Neck Family’s Fall Harvest Festival, are counted on to man a number of areas throughout the 86-acre campus grounds. From setup to winding down, helpers work in shifts or all day, and look forward to joining the much-appreciated volunteer ranks annually at the event, which turns 50 this year.

“I get so excited to volunteer at the Festival!” said Danielle, who went on to explain a typical day. “I usually get there early to help setup, and then I head to my volunteer area. For example, at the apple booths, I may start packing all the apples, and as more volunteers arrive I introduce myself. If there are first timers, I explain what we have to do for the day.”

As a profoundly Deaf young woman with a cochlear implant, Danielle looks forward to interacting with both Deaf and hearing crowds alike. Over 20,000 visitors join the Mill Neck Family each Festival weekend, and all enjoy the numerous activities, reunions, good eats and educational experiences with gusto.

And because the Festival showcases the latest in Deaf technology, sign language novelty items and books, Deaf participants and Mill Neck Manor alumni attend the event as a “homecoming,” bringing the heart of the Long Island Deaf Community together. On that note, Danielle says the Festival has “been the best experience of my life. I love meeting people just like me.”

Interestingly, Danielle says she didn’t know other Deaf people until she began attending college in 2007, as she was enrolled in special education classes at mainstream schools until then. “I actually found out about American Sign Language (ASL) and Mill Neck through an ASL class! Since then, I knew each year I had to volunteer and be part of this wonderful community. Meeting so many new people daily and being able to communicate with the Deaf using ASL has been a great experience for me. I also enjoy going to many Deaf gatherings, and currently, I’m finishing my degree to become a Teacher of the Deaf.”

If it were up to Danielle, she’d increase the already packed Festival grounds by thousands more, enticing visitors with fall’s finest delicacies, country crafts and activities. “I always recommend this event to my family, friends and even people I just met. Last year, I asked my entire hearing family to come to the Festival, and many any of them did and had a great time!” she said.

This special volunteer is already planning out her Festival weekend, from arrival time to the areas she’ll help out to the people she’ll promote the ever popular, 50 year tradition to. The active participant can barely contain her excitement and she shares final remarks about volunteering. “I think it’s important to help because volunteering is as natural to me as living. I love assisting others and being around a wonderful community.”

Hope you enjoyed reading this. Have a great day!


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