Local woman hoping to get 1,500 people under one roof to break world record Monday
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IDAHO FALLS – Sandi Herrin is trying to break a world record, and she’s asking for your help.
On Monday, June 3, Herrin is partnering with Curt Radford, a Deaf man who teaches Deaf education at Utah State University, to set a Guinness World Record for the biggest sign language class ever.
“We need 1,500 people to be at the Civic, seated, ready to learn a sign language lesson,” Herrin says.
She’s worked with Deaf or hard of hearing people for more than 30 years and in January she formed a nonprofit called iASL2, which provides free sign language instruction to anyone interested.
“The idea is we want everybody to learn a little bit of American Sign Language so they can have meaningful interactions should they encounter a Deaf or hard of hearing person,” Herrin tells EastIdahoNews.com.
Herrin says there is a lot of interest in these services. Since January, 27 different organizations have taken sign language courses from Herrin, including local police departments, fire departments, businesses and schools.
Though the number of deaf people in eastern Idaho is fairly small, Herrin says many people use sign language as a form of communication.
“Sign language is a proven mode of language development for kids who have difficulty using regular auditory sounds to process language,” says Herrin.
Many parents also use sign language to communicate with their young children who haven’t yet learned to talk.
Radford will kick off the event with a presentation about the Deaf culture and movement that he gave at a TEDx event a year and a half ago. A local Deaf person will also be speaking about his experience interacting with people who can hear. A half-hour sign language session will immediately follow.
“We’re going to teach a sign language lesson based around the ‘nice to meet you’ lesson plan, so everything that encompasses meeting someone for the first time and making an introduction. We’ll be showing the lesson on a screen so that people in the back can see, and (those in attendance) have to simultaneously (be involved for it to qualify as a world record),” she says.
Thirty people will watch and document what is taking place so it can be submitted to Guinness.
The event will start at 7 p.m. at the Civic Auditorium and is free. You can register for the event by clicking here. Registration is not required, but it’s helpful in gauging who will be attending.
“I envision 1,500 people in one place for one purpose: learning together for something that may or may not ever affect them. You may not ever meet a Deaf person in your life, but every time (I’ve mentioned this event), people say they’ve always wanted to learn sign language,” Herrin says.
The current record holder for the largest sign language lesson is the Rajkot District Administration in India. On June 28, 2017, 1,442 participants performed the Indian National Anthem in sign language in front of the country’s prime minister.
If your business or organization would like to register for a free sign language course, visit the iASL2 website. You can also reach out to Herrin directly at (208) 390-0331 or email Itsasignlife@gmail.com.