GREEN BAY - Jenny Geiken's
hands are constantly in the air, forming letters and signs that children with hearing loss can comprehend.
But it's her
heart - her
passion for children who experience hearing loss - that led Geiken
to start a program called Hand-N-Hand of Northeastern Wisconsin, Inc.
Hand-N-Hand is a playgroup for children, from birth to 5, who are deaf or hard of hearing.
The playgroup meets Monday evenings at the former St. John the Evangelist School
, which also houses St. John's Homeless Shelter.
"I started the program back in 2002 because babies were being identifed (with hearing loss) very early and families needed to have other families to meet and to know where to go and get resources," Geiken
told The Compass
during a break from the playgroup Feb. 28.
"It's also a chance (for children) to meet other children who have hearing loss."
Jenny Geiken, founder and director of Hand-N-Hand of Northeastern Wisconsin, shakes hands with Everett Sachs during a song activity at the beginning of a Feb. 28 playgroup for children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
"When the parish renovated the (school) building, in addition to considering the needs of the homeless shelter, Martinson Architects put extra time and effort into planning with Jenny
and her families, working on accommodations that would benefit the program ... as well as children with special needs such as walkers or wheelchairs," added Perrault.
Before starting Hand-N-Hand, Geiken was a teacher for the deaf and hard of hearing.
holds a deaf education teaching certificate from UW-Milwaukee.
Michaela Kihntopf helps Jenny Geiken
with a class activity at a Hand-N-Hand playgroup Feb. 28.