Cara Smithwick • 05/05/2021
When we at Beginnings were going through strategic planning and looking for a tagline that embodied our purpose, we struggled for weeks! Our consultant had us do activity after activity, all while promising that the right tagline would be obvious when we found it. And it was. One of those activities had Megan (now a former Parent Education Specialist we miss!) telling her story. She grew up in a small town where she was the only student in school who was deaf or hard of hearing. Her family became intense advocates and Megan soared. The first college she attended ended up not being the right fit, and she transferred to Gallaudet. Then the words that made us all take a collective deep breath - she said “I found where I belong.” Belonging was the concept for which we were searching, and “Where Belonging Begins” was born.
At the heart of who we are, we must belong. I found many definitions online about belonging and here are some of my favorites.
“Belonging is a sense of fitting in or feeling like you are an important member of a group. A really close family gives each of its members a strong sense of belonging.” From Vocabulary.com.
Cornell University posted this: “Belonging is the feeling of security and support when there is a sense of acceptance, inclusion, and identity for a member of a certain group.”
The first place we belong is with our birth family. That’s where most of us stay. Infants are doted on, fed, cuddled, sang to sleep...all this leads to that sense of belonging. Children grow up and their experiences and interactions with people help to solidify that sense of belonging - with family, friends, and strangers. Language is at the heart of this concept. Humans - even us introverts - use language to connect. At Beginnings SC, our focus is to provide resources and information to families so that DHH children can acquire language at a typical rate and the child (and future adult) has a place to connect and be seen. Do you have a story of how language access helped you find your place to belong? Do you need assistance with helping your child find their place to belong? Contact us! 803-216-1171 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.