All this little girl wanted was to connect with everyone she met, so the whole neighborhood came together to make it happen.
For far too long, having a hearing impairment meant that it would come in the way of people connecting with each other. But in the case of this little township in Newton, Massachusetts, it brought an entire neighborhood together, all for a little toddler who had won their hearts.
Two-year-old Samantha Savitz, who was born with impaired hearing, is described as a wonderful, cheerful little girl who loves striking a connection with people. She has a lot to say, especially when she meets someone who can converse with her in sign language. "She's super engaging. She wants to chat-up with anybody," said Samantha's father, Raphael, according to CBS News.
When somebody new comes along but she can't sign with them, she gets a little upset. But when they do know sign language, Samantha becomes full of life. Glenda, the toddler's mother, said, "Yea, her whole personality changes when it's someone who can communicate with her."
It wasn't just her parents, but the entire neighborhood of Islington Road which noticed this. Samantha is like the perfect neighbor who cares about making little conversations with everyone. When her neighbors would see her in the yard or walk with her parents, the little one would take the effort to converse with them. But unfortunately, as much as the neighbors would want to understand her, it would frustrate them when they couldn't engage with her. She's a typical 2-year-old who wants to make friends with everyone and has lots to share.
One neighbor said, "I didn't know what to say back. Wouldn't you like to talk to her?" When there's a toddler around, all you want to do is have typical toddler conversations with them. The neighbors wanted to do the same with Samantha, as one of them said they wanted to have a "basic conversation that one would have with a child," or try "asking her about her day," as another neighbor said.
What makes a neighborhood a close-knit community is when everybody feels bonded with each other. And that's one of the main things that the neighbors wanted. One of them even said they wished to "...make her feel that she is part of the neighborhood," and "just be her friend," as another said.
"They came to me and said ‘would you mind - we love the course, we love the teacher, would you mind if we hired the teacher and brought him back to the neighborhood? Can we have your permission?'" one of the parents said, according to WCVB 5. "I'm like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ Ya, you can have my permission!"
So the entire neighborhood came together, joined hands and decided to do something for this dear little 2-year-old. With the help of an instructor, they started learning American Sign Language, which is a wonderful thing to do because sometimes, even the parents of deaf children don't take the effort to learn the language, as the teacher, Rhys McGovern, pointed out.
Rhys said "...here Sam has a full community that's signing and communicating with her and her family, and it is a beautiful story." It's the perfect and most heartwarming way to ensure that Sam is included in the community. As for her parents, they are overwhelmed with gratitude for the big and kind gesture of their neighbors. Her mother, Glenda said "Yea, it's really shocking and beautiful," while her father, Raphael said, "We are so fortunate."
Dear little Samantha not only has the love and support of her parents but also has the entire neighborhood on her side. This way, she never has to feel out of place. And the neighborhood can watch her grow up to be a happy child and get the life that she deserves.
But what matters most is that they are visibly able to see the change in Samantha. Seeing the deserving little girl happy makes the neighborhood's effort all the more worth it. One neighbor said, "You should see her when she comes in at the end of class." They are excited to be able to fully understand what Samantha tells them. Another neighbor said, "The first thing she says to us is 'friend.'"
It wouldn't be uncommon for the parents of a child with an impaired ability to wonder if they'll feel secure and included out in the real world. But the experience this little two-year-old's parents have had in the neighborhood is the kind that would give a concerned parent the confidence they might need. would have given them more hope than they would have had, seeing the whole neighborhood come together for their daughter.
Samantha now has not one, not two, but an entire neighborhood of friends with whom she can freely communicate to her heart's desire. One neighbor also said, "I think your heart would melt just as mine did."