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Once Upon a Time...

People in Costumes with Horse

In a kingdom far away but not so far away, long ago but not so long ago there lived a King and Queen who were very happy. To them was born a beautiful child. The child seemed to have the wisdom of all the angels surrounding her. She was full of love and laughter and nothing seemed to bother her. The King and Queen soon realized that the beautiful, brilliant, unbotherable child was completely, profoundly deaf. The King and Queen read all the thickest books and met with all the wisest people in the land. They came to believe in the importance of early language development in children and they surrounded their littlest princess with wonderful playmates both young and old who were fluent in ASL (American Sign Language) to show her how to be Deaf. Wise viziers and storytellers and teachers and leaders from the Deaf community came to visit the castle and some of these people came to live in the castle. And everyone in the court and in the royal family learned ASL and Deaf culture.

Still the King and Queen were not satisfied. "In a perfect world," they declared to each other, "all deaf children would be proud to be Deaf. They would be fluent in their natural language, ASL, and have many peers who were also fluent with whom to share their dreams and joys, troubles and imaginations. They would have friends in the Deaf world and friends in the hearing world. They would have Deaf role models who were successful leaders not just teachers aides. They would have fluent native signers signing stories and poetry with them every single day—not just at holiday festivals. They would have a normal life with a sense of free communication with those around them. They would have access to the same wonderful special experiences as their hearing peers rather than being isolated or limited by their deafness. They would be understood and appreciated as unique human beings with special gifts as well as special needs."

As the King and Queen walked and talked together they passed into an old and sacred redwood forest. The trees stood tall stretching up into the slanting rays of the sun. The sod beneath their feet was soft. Springs trickled from the hillside creating paths of red iron deposit, coming together, disappearing into the earth and springing up again amidst the ferns and shamrocks. Although it was the middle of winter, beside the gentle path, almost unnoticed, stood the Trillium flowers. As the Queen passed she saw the three petals so unique and delicate yet proudly held by three green spike-like leaves atop a tall and upright stem. She thought of the three populations she intended to serve in her quest to improve the quality of life of children in the Deaf community:

  • Deaf and Hard of hearing children
  • Children of Deaf adults
  • Siblings and friends of Deaf children

She thought then of the components of her work to create a bridge between historically polarized factions of the two communities and offer an alternative to families who otherwise might feel compelled to send their child away to a residential school for the Deaf in order to provide them exposure to culture, community and communication so essential to the development of Deaf children. She thought about what it meant to bring to all the children in the kingdom, the living example of what it is to be a World Citizen reaching out and striving to better understand and meet the language, cultural and personal needs of a larger and more diverse community. The Queen then thought of three areas needing innovative programs:

  • Deaf Education - including research, teacher trainings, parent education and a new kind of school
  • Deaf Performing Arts - including community events and socials and ASL storytellings
  • ASL Instruction - including school programs, parent programs and summer camps

The Queen then thought of what forms this new kind of school for the Deaf might take. She thought of the way children are taught in Waldorf Schools through Head, Heart and Hands. Learning through thinking, feeling and doing. "Yes!" she thought, "This is the perfect fit for Deaf children." The King nodded his head and agreed and started wondering where the money would come from.

Then as they passed the Trillium flower standing tall, beautiful and alone in the winter starkness, all this "threeness" rolled into one big dream and its name became "Trillium". And now the King and Queen were very busy, but they were very happy.

And the princess and the court and the kingdom grew in love and laughter day after glorious day.

Snip, snap, snout. This story’s not yet told out…

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Collage of Farm Animals

Trillium Community Farm was purchased in December 2000 with the intention of creating a farm experience for Deaf children. These 14 acres of garden, pastureland and oak trees in West Sonoma County offer a wonderful potential for development of the after school program, ASL Summer camp and the visiting schools program.

Boy with Baby Pigs

Although not yet certified, Trillium Community Farm is being developed along biodynamic principles as put forth by Rudolf Steiner. No pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers are used on the property and the goal is sustainability. When possible, horse drawn farm equipment is used.

Farm Photo with Rainbow

A variety of farm animals reside here awaiting children’s eager touch and sharing their bounty of eggs, milk, wool and friendship.

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