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TD Bank Foundation Helps Fund Deaf Reading Program

Submitted by on April 19, 2018 – 1:26 pm

(Left to right) Melissa Doucette of the TD Bank Charitable Foundation, Northern Essex Community College President Lane Glenn, Rosemary Desmond of TD Bank’s Charitable Foundation and Todd Higgins, director Gallaudet University Regional Center.

The Gallaudet University Regional Center (GURC) at Northern Essex Community College recently received a $5,000 grant from the TD Bank Charitable Foundation to fund, in part, its monthly Shared Reading Saturday Program (SRS).

For the last 14 years GURC has coordinated the SRS Program. Nearly two dozen families and caregivers participate in the program. Deaf tutors work with the participants in both one-on-one and group-based settings to demonstrate how to read popular children’s books in American Sign Language (ASL). They practice signing the story and receive feedback from the tutors in a supportive environment.

In addition to the tutoring, the participants receive a book bag containing the book they just read, a videotaped ASL translation of the book on a CD for further practice, a bookmark with tips for reading to deaf and hard of hearing children, and a guide with activities the family can do together that relate to the story.

“Eighty-four percent of deaf and hard of hearing children have hearing parents. These parents want to read to their children but are often frustrated because they lack the skills or support,” according to Todd Higgins, director of the GURC at NECC. “This program addresses this very issue. It gives family members the tools for reading to their children and encourage an interest in reading.”

“We are honored that the TD Bank Charitable Foundation believes the SRS Program worthy of grant funding,” said Jean Poth, NECC’s vice president of institutional advancement.

For additional information on this program, contact Higgins at

The TD Charitable Foundation is one of the 10 largest commercial banking organizations in the United States. The Foundation’s mission is to serve the individuals, families and businesses in all the communities where TD Bank operates, having made $100.4 million in charitable donations since its inception in 2002.