Posted on May 14, 2020

VCC grad combines child care and ASL skills to support the fight against COVID-19



Like many people around the world, child care assistant Jordyn Mitchell saw her workplace change dramatically due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Once bustling with 60 young children, her preschool now sat virtually empty. 

Jordyn’s job wasn’t the type she could do from home, yet thanks to an extra-special skill set, she was still able to offer much-needed support to one of Vancouver’s frontline health care workers.

Jordyn graduated from Vancouver Community College (VCC) in 2019 with an American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf Studies certificate and was the recipient of the Lieutenant Governor's Silver Medal for academic excellence and community service.

Today, this high-achiever works as an early childhood care assistant at a daycare operated by the Deaf Children’s Society of BC (DCS). In this role, Jordyn has been able to continue her work at the facility by providing interpretive services and Kindergarten programming to the five-year-old child of a registered nurse in New Westminster. Jordyn also cares for the nurse’s two-and-half-year-old child. 

“My role in the classroom at this time looks a little different than it would if there was not a worldwide pandemic,” Jordyn says. Over the past months, Jordyn has taught the children about proper hand washing, and coughing and sneezing into their arms and tissues. Of course, physical distancing in a preschool setting is nearly impossible. Jordyn adds that she is unable to wear protective face masks since mouth and facial movements are an essential part of ASL communication.

Jordyn admits she is concerned for her safety, but remains fully committed to her work. “The services we are providing allow nurses and doctors to not worry about child care and be in the hospital caring for the sick,” she says. 

In her personal life, Jordyn is also trying to stay as isolated as possible to ensure the children in her care – and by extension, their mother – are safe. “I go straight from work to home,” she says.

“We are super grateful to VCC for the programs they offer,” says Lisa Meneian, Executive Director at DCS. “Their graduates often become strong allies in the Deaf community, and we are extremely grateful to have Jordyn on our team!”  

Based in Burnaby, B.C. the Deaf Children’s Society of BC is a not-for-profit agency that provides resources, programs, support, and information to families with? Deaf and hard of hearing children from birth to age five.?

Learn how you can make a difference through VCC’s Sign Language Studies. Apply now for September 2020.