Fresno State receives donation for the deaf and hard of hearing

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Fresno State program that helps deaf and hard of hearing children has just received a million dollar donation.

In Dr. Paul Odgen's class, lessons are taught through sign language and Fresno State students are learning in a whole new way.

Dr. Ogden said, "Communication really allows to appreciate people who are deaf and who are not deaf and it's a really a neat experience to use sign language."

Growing up with two deaf parents, I have seen the impact of language. I sat down with Dr. Odgen, who is gaining national attention for his "Silent Garden" endowment. It was started four years ago to help families and named after his book for parents of deaf children. The Spanish version is the only one of its kind in the country.

In an exclusive announcement, Dr. Ogden revealed the program has just received a million dollars from an anonymous donor.

Dr. Paul Ogden said, "It's very exciting and I'm very honored."

The money will go to "Scarlett's Program," which will help deaf people with additional disabilities.

"We have people in the community who are deaf and blind, deaf and autistic and deaf with emotional disturbances and we don't have an expert in the Valley in regards to these specific populations," said Dr. Paul Ogden.

Experts will come to Fresno to teach parents and educators like Jackie Rubalcava. She credits Dr. Paul Ogden's passion for helping connect the community.

Rubalcava said, "I was a former student of his and I really consider myself a flower from his Silent Garden. I think the seeds he sows in students are reaping now."

The program will be the first of it's in kind in the country and will put Fresno State on the map for deaf education.

With an estimated 14,000 deaf and hard of hearing members in the Valley, Dr. Ogden said this endowment will create more opportunities for the current and future generations.

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