The ASL-LLC’s mentor, Ben Wenzel, has been a huge contribution to the LLC this year. Ben was born deaf, but despite being the only deaf member in his family, he has learned to embrace his deafness. Now he considers himself Deaf meaning he is active in the Deaf community and embraces Deaf culture.
Ben is always visiting the LLC. He enjoys visiting the ASL community because a few of the LLC members are his friends from high school. Ben enjoys communicating with and getting to know the residents of the LLC. He often comes just to say hi, but ends up staying for a while to play games, and just hang out. In fact, when these quick stops become a lengthy visit, Ben is showing the LLC members an aspect of Deaf Culture. While hearing people have short goodbyes, such as “nice to see you,” or “Thank you. Goodbye,” Deaf people have long goodbyes.
These consistent visits of Ben’s have allowed residents of the ASL LLC to come together as a community and have allowed other members of the LLC to emerge as leaders. These residents look forward to seeing Ben because they know that they can go to him for help, but they also are learning that he just likes to have fun. Residents of the ASL LLC love to see Ben because they know they are going to have a good time, and they are always learning something new from him. If Ben is in the community, I know that the ASL LLC members are going to be there too! Ben truly is a building block both for the ASL LLC community, but also the ASL Community here on campus!