*This is a sample from the full grant narrative provided to ASL Friends, Inc. The narrative was prepared in response to a local foundation's request for proposals. The formatting and content of the narrative follow the guidelines provided by the local foundation.
Accessing Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Through American Sign Language
Problem: Young deaf and hard-of-hearing children have limited options for in-home, visual curriculum to support language acquisition that creates the foundation for communication skills and literacy, especially during the critical early development stages of a child’s life.
Solution: ASL Friends, Inc. will produce five, 30-minute episodes of a signed Mister Rogers’ Neighborhoodprogram to create a visual, interactive language lesson for a deaf or hard-of-hearing child (“signed” indicates that sign language interpreters will be included). These episodes will then be made available on Amazon.com to be downloaded to computers, laptops, and mobile devices by the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.
Funding Requirements: For the adaptation of the five episodes, our total production budget will be $92,296.45 with each episode budgeted at $18,459.00. This funding will cover the cost of the producer, a sign language cast, the equipment, a filming location, transportation and living expenses during filming, and the planning and production of the episodes by DeBee Communications.
Organization: ASL Friends, Inc (formerly ASL Readers, Inc.) was established on October 3, 2005 and received 501(c)3 status on November 3, 2006. Our mission is to adapt spoken and written English education materials into American Sign Language curriculum accessible to the deaf and hard-of-hearing population. In 2008, the Fred Rogers Company granted permission for us to produce a research pilot DVD episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood with American Sign Language. For the production, we partnered with the deaf-owned DeBee Communications Corporation. Our pilot was evaluated by researchers at the University of Colorado who studied the feedback gathered from consumers as well as evaluations from universities and colleges from across the nation. The pilot was determined to have a positive impact and a need for more early childhood American Sign Language acquisition materials was fully recognized.
Our organization, including the production of the pilot DVD, is supported by grants and donations by several funders, such as The Pittsburgh Foundation, Laurel Capital Corporation, and Pittsburgh Neuropsychology Associates.
With our prior success, we are planning to expand our project. We will be collaborating with DeBee Communications to make early language acquisition materials accessible to an underserved population through online access by producing five, full-length episodes of signed Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood that will be available through Amazon.com.