In a small unassuming room, a unique group gathers once a week, united by a common goal: learning to communicate beyond the limits of sound.

Eileen Levie, an advocate for communication and connection, leads the group. She shares her insights on the challenges and rewards of teaching American Sign Language (ASL).

“I know people can be a little awkward with deaf people and they want to write back and forth when I tell them that I’m deaf,” Levie explains.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world
sent to your email, as it happens.

Levie moved to the Pineridge neighbourhood in 2022 and quickly began sharing ASL with her neighbours. Her dedication to bridging communication gaps has made a significant impact.

“I think what I want people to know is that I really like teaching, and so this group is learning American Sign Language,” Levie says.

Her efforts caught the attention of City of Calgary Community Social Worker Megan Solamillo, who saw the potential for a broader impact.

“She was signing to her neighbours, and she was really excited to be teaching them. So I asked her if she would be willing to teach the broader community, and she said yes, she would love to,” Solamillo recalls.

With the support of Deaf and Hear Alberta, Solamillo supported Levie in leading weekly lessons at Village Square Leisure Centre, teaching the fundamentals of ASL to others.

The free sessions have attracted a diverse group of participants from around the world, including Pakistan and Afghanistan. Levie’s mission is clear: to include everyone in the conversation.

The ASL workshops run every Tuesday until June 25th and will resume in the fall.