CSD-Fremont Students Host Nationally-Distributed Show for Teens

California News, Fall 2012
Two California School for the Deaf-Fremont (CSD) students are becoming familiar faces in the Deaf community. Since June, ninth grader Brianna, age 14, and junior Christina, 16, have been hosting Sorenson Communications' Video Center program "Hangout." The program is presented entirely in American Sign Language (ASL) and is targeted to preteens, teenagers, and schools. "Hangout" focuses on topics related to growing up Deaf in today's world – so Christina and Brianna are naturals.

Each "Hangout" program typically consists of six short segments, and often includes themes such as "Guess This," "Livin' It Up," and "What If?" The program features diverse "teen" topics as well as other topics of interest to Deaf kids – handshape games, Deaf history, captioned movies, Deaf communication technology, ASL fun, profiles of various Deaf professionals and Deaf people in other countries.

On one recent episode, Christina and Brianna discussed what it is like for Deaf people in Sri Lanka, where Deaf people have only four sign language interpreters for the entire country! In another episode of "Hangout," Brianna and Christina talk about what it might be like for Deaf people in Thailand.

As hosts of "Hangout," Brianna and Christina interview special guests who visit the show. In the past, the girls have interviewed an actor, rock climber, artist, photographer, and many other guests, all of whom come from different areas of the United States.

"Brianna and Christina are great to work with," notes John Peebler, Sorenson director of marketing and producer, who works closely with the girls. Peebler explains, "School is important. We want the girls to do well in school. So 'Hangout' episodes are filmed on weekends or during the summer so Brianna and Christina don't miss school and school-related activities."

Brianna, who has attended CSD since she was 18 months old, says she has learned the importance of being clear in presenting the information. Her biggest challenge, she says, has been to "throw out the 'Brianna' character and put on the abstract" character of the host. Christina, who has attended CSD since she was an infant, says her biggest challenge with "Hangout" has been memorizing entire scripts. "It's probably the toughest thing I've ever had to do," she says. "But in the end, I made it!"

"Hangout presents a rare opportunity to create entertainment that is truly designed for Deaf children, and it is my honor to be part of the show," notes DJ Kurs, writer and director of DKN's "Hangout."

Christina says she has learned from the show and the experience has helped her grow as a person. "I've learned to adapt to many different points of view. There are some things about our community that I didn't realize. So I appreciate all the knowledge I have obtained from this show. It's definitely something that I will remember forever."

Episodes of "Hangout" are sometimes filmed on location, but are mostly filmed in Utah on a colorful, one-of-a-kind set, built especially for the show. New "Hangout" programs are released twice a month and are available to all users of Sorenson videophones and ntouch® products for home, PCs, Macs, and mobile devices.

In addition to "Hangout," the Video Center provides a wide variety of rich programming, including entertaining and educational videos, technology and regulatory information and much more, all available in ASL and at no cost to the viewer. Here's a guide to some of the latest programming available.

"Storytime" – This program, for audiences of all ages, presents classic fables and fairy tales. All videos include charming illustrations. Many children's favorites, such as "Three Billy Goats Gruff " and "The Lion and the Mouse," are delivered through the Video Center.

"Cooking Simply" – This program is hosted by Matt hew Baker, chef and founder of Feast on This Catering. Baker shares cooking tips and delicious and easy-to-prepare recipes, such as lemon chicken, baked French toast and apple pie, to name a few.

"Deaf Perspective" – This program, hosted by actress Deanne Bray and co-hosts Melvin Patterson and Julia Velasquez, addresses current events and Deaf-related subjects, which have included technologies for the Deaf, the Deaf Child's Bill of Rights and a discussion on whether the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires captions in all visual media.

"SIGNetwork™ (SN) News" – The SN News anchor covers Deaf-related news, such as coverage of the recent NAD presidential election, Deaf athletes' and artists' involvement in last summer's London Olympics and use of FaceTime® over 3G and 4G networks and the implications for Deaf people. SN News is released every other week.

For more information on how to access "Hangout" and other Sorenson Video Center programming, visit www.svrs.com/videocenter or contact Mark Call at mcall@sorenson.com.

Reprinted with permission.

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