GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Volunteers served up savory spaghetti dinners for a fundraiser at the de l' Eppe Deaf Center in Gulfport. Money raised from the dinners will help the center expand two of its programs. The center focuses on providing religious classes and resources for the deaf community.
"We already have a fall retreat, but we're hoping to start a spring retreat, as well, if we can," says Jamie Olson, director of religious education and interpreter.
It's a weekend-long retreat for adults to fellowship. The center also invites clergyman fluent in sign language to the retreat.
"The whole weekend will be in their native language. My goal would be maybe for 20 to 25 deaf to attend. Right now, I think I have about 10 to 15 people attending," says Olson.
From adults to children, the center holds Catholic Christian education classes once a month for kids, but the center is working to reach more kids.
"We want other children of any denomination to come because it is hard for deaf children to get the concept of God. There are a lot of deaf children on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and I'm hoping that I can slowly start reaching out to parents and have them start coming out to the program," says Olson.
Right now, there are only four children signed up, but program organizers are hopeful that will change.
"I think that, if we continue, there will be a growth in the program, and that's the goal," says Olson.
For more information on classes, you can call 228-897-2280. It's located at 1450 North Street in Gulfport, off Cowan-Lorraine road next to St. James Catholic Church.