Learn More About Listening & Learning
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There is a resource and support group that has been around since 2011 that a lot of you may not have ever heard of. It’s called Listening & Learning and it was begun by women that wanted to provide Paris with a kid with challenges resource for parents. It is a fully nonprofit organization that exists to help parents connect with other parents of kids with challenges as well as point out local and not so local resources that can help parents handle their kids and their special situations. Fundraisers are held through the year to help raise money for testing, hearing aids, eye exams, rides to the doctor, and more.
Every other month on the third Tuesday, the Listening & Learning support group meets at Lamar Avenue Church of Christ from 6 to 8pm. There are special speakers at each meeting, and sometimes new connections are brought in so that parents can learn of their rights and resources that they otherwise would have no knowledge of. They also have a bi-monthly newsletter that contains new resources that have been dug up as well as information from the speaker of the month.
Throughout the year, L&L helps out with special events in the community. Over the last few years, Listening & Learning has taken part in Relay for Life as well as the Zombie Walk. They hold a book drive so that children in the WIC office have something to read. They help out Agape House with food drives. Why do they do this: Because they are here to help the local community too. Members of L&L believe that in order to have support of your community, you need to do something to help your community. This year, in April, Listening & Learning will be promoting “Light It Up Blue”. They will be handing out information about their program and donating a puzzle piece pin for people to wear to show support.
Listening & Learning is not just for Paris, Texas or Lamar County parents. L&L has helped parents as far as Rockwall and as close as Fannin, Frisco, Heath, etc. Their goal is to help the community be aware of them and what they have to offer parents and families with kids that have challenges like Asperger’s, Autism, and Tourette’s. L&L will hold their hand every step of the way, from giving moral support that is 24-7 to connecting parents with other parents that have either been there or are at the same place in their lives.
Currently, in Paris, there are no doctors around that will diagnose the challenges that were mentioned earlier. Part of L&L’s mission is to help connect parents with doctors that will test children that may have those same challenges. To date, Listening & Learning has helped around 42 families with kids that have mental, physical, emotional challenges.
Listening & Learning believes that all children deserve to have a normal life despite any challenges or conditions that they have. The members of Listening & Learning are proud of what they do. They do care. “Whatever the need is, we will help you do that.” Catana Yarnell took it upon herself a few years ago to help parents in Paris find resources when she was unable to.
One of her 3 daughters was diagnosed as being deaf when she was only three. Catana took a very basic sign language class at PJC so that she could communicate with her daughter. There were no local resources here in Paris; nothing that she could utilize to help her daughter to lead a normal and happy life. It took moving to Sherman and later enrolling her daughter in Texas School for the Deaf in Austin, to really help her daughter live and learn in a way that she could be normal. Since then her daughter graduated in 2009 and moved to Rochester, NY to attend college. She is an independent and happy young woman thanks to her mom’s diligence in finding resources to help her daughter. After helping her daughter and realizing that her grandson Riley had Autism and Asperger’s, Catana realized that God was laying it on her heart to help parents in Paris with similar issues.
Please visit their Facebook page to learn more!