Norma Wright

Daily Point of Light # 3209 May 24, 2006

Daily Point of Light Award for
Older Americans Month – May 2006

Norma Wright is one of the winners of a special judging of the Daily Point of Light Award being honored this May during Older Americans Month. Recognizing the contributions of older Americans, these awards celebrate 50+ volunteers who are making a difference by giving of their time, talent and experience to meet the critical needs of their communities.

Norma Wright, a Big Sister in the Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing Program and winner of the state of California Big Sister of the Year 2005, is a retired teacher and widow. She is hearing and fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) and has been matched with profoundly deaf Little Sister Ashley for five years. By sharing numerous outings over the years, Norma has enhanced Ashley’s exposure to the Deaf community, attending performances by the Deaf West Theatre and numerous Deaf Expo conventions, bringing Ashley’s prior communication skills with ASL from nearly nonexistent to a high level. Ashley has learned how to interact with hearing and deaf individuals of various backgrounds. Says Ashley about her Big Sister, “I enjoy Norma. She makes me feel good about being deaf, and my life.”

“I’m not sure which one of us has learned more about Deaf culture,” Norma acknowledges. “I am happy to be a witness to her language development, one of the goals of this mentoring experience. Ashley has grown to trust me and value my advice, so that to me is the best product of our relationship: that she knows she has a supportive, non-threatening sounding board for her feelings, hopes and dreams.”