By Mekialaya White

DENVER (CBS4) — Tyler Odum and members of his Boy Scout Troop 337 spent part of their Sunday morning volunteering at the Denver Zoo. He was one of about 1,000 people celebrating Deaf Safari Day, an event to raise awareness about inclusivity.

(credit: CBS)

“It’s an opportunity to give back to the community,” he said, while helping usher visitors to exhibits which featured American Sign Language interpreters.

Relay Colorado Program Manager Holly Bise told CBS4’s Mekialaya White how the day came to fruition with the help of an interpreter.

“It’s been two years. COVID happened, people have been very isolated and so many were not able to get out and learn about different services, so this really gets people together to share resources,” she said.

(credit: CBS)

Her organization partnered with Relay Wyoming as hosts.

“We are so grateful that Colorado invited us,” said Lori Cielinski, Program Manager.

All day long, members of the deaf community explored animal talks and demonstrations, while speaking their native language.

“Just seeing people and interacting – we’ve been on Zoom and that’s great, but it’s just so important to have that face-to-face interaction. The deaf community is naturally very interactive. I think people are just really starved and wanting to get out and see the community members again,” Bise said.

(credit: CBS)

So, getting everybody together was a long time coming.

“Deaf, hard of hearing people live in a ‘hearing world,’ and so it means that their ability to have access, it can be limiting often times, so this event, that limit isn’t there anymore,” she said. “It’s just really awesome to see it. I love it.”

Additional Information from Relay Colorado:

This event was hosted by Relay Colorado and Wyoming Relay with a sponsorship from T-Mobile. Relay Services are a no-cost public service that enables people with hearing or speech loss who use a teletypewriter (TTY) or other assistive device to communicate with standard telephone users. The conversation is relayed between the two parties by a specially trained Communications Assistant. Relay Services are available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Relay Colorado and Wyoming Relay services are provided by T-Mobile under contract agreements with the Colorado Public Utilities Commissions (PUC) and Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, respectively. More information about these services can be found at the websites listed below:

Mekialaya White