Deaf center stages food drive
By FLORI MEEKS
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Although she never met the late Lillian Beard, Ashly Martinez thinks of her
as a role model.
“From what I’ve been told, her smile was contagious,” said Martinez,
volunteer coordinator for the Lillian Beard Deaf Connection Center. “I want
to help people like she did.”
Beard, who was an interpreter for the deaf and founder of Woodhaven Baptist
Deaf Church at 9920 Long Point Road, died in 2010 at age 101.
When the church decided to create a community center for the deaf in 2010,
it named it in Beard’s honor. The center is based on the church grounds.
Now Martinez, who lives in Cypress, is trying to get the word out about the
nonprofit center and to reach out to those it serves with a holiday food
drive, which will continue through Jan. 3. The food will help stock the
center’s food pantry program.
The center hosts a job-placement service, KelMar Services LLC, where
Martinez works as an office assistant. The center, which has three
interpreters on call, helps clients develop résumés, refine interview skills
and find job openings.
The center offers a 12-step drug-and-alcohol recovery program, counseling,
food and clothing assistance, a coffee house (Holy Grounds), computer
repair, monthly workshops on issues facing the deaf community, American Sign
Language courses, computer training, independent living training, Bible
studies and monthly movie nights.
“It’s great to offer these services and to see people improve their quality
of life,” said Marisol Martinez, an interpreter, KelMar Services program
specialist and Martinez’s cousin.
The center draws people from throughout greater Houston, from The Woodlands
to Galveston and from as far as Beaumont.
All programs are free except the sign language courses, which cost $50 for
the course and $35 for its book. Proceeds help support the center.
“We’re always looking for donations, from clothing to food to ensure our
pantry is full,” Ashly Martinez said. “We need monetary donations, too.
We’re trying to save up for more computers in the center.”
Volunteer help always is needed, she added.
“We prefer volunteers know sign language, but it’s not required,” Ashly
Martinez said. “I’ve never taken an ASL class in my life, but I have the
best teachers in the world.”
To support the food drive, bring nonperishable items, toiletries, clothing
and baby supplies to the center.
Next year, Marisol said, the center will concentrate on generating more
donations and volunteer help to expand services.
For details, visit: http://www.lillianbearddeafcenter.org .