Nyle DiMarco rose to international fame after winning Cycle 22 of America’s Next Top Model. Lately, he’s been showing off his talent as a dancer, winning hearts on the ABC reality show Dancing with the Stars. Now, he has a new role: philanthropist.
Los Angeles, CA — April 11, 2016 – According to the World Federation of the Deaf, there are approximately 70 million Deaf people worldwide. Only two percent of this worldwide community has access to education in sign language, a deprivation that has led to significant delays in cognition, learning, and language acquisition.
This is one of many challenges facing the Deaf community that Nyle DiMarco wants to help overcome.
“Sign language is a human right. It guarantees Deaf children full access to language and learning,” DiMarco said.
Advocating for full and early access to American Sign Language (ASL) and English for Deaf and hard of hearing children in the United States will be a priority for the Nyle DiMarco Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of every Deaf person in the world. The Foundation is currently seeking out partners to promote culturally-based, community-engaged and innovative approaches to advance the standing of Deaf individuals and their families.
The Foundation and its mission has roots in DiMarco’s childhood. DiMarco was born into a multigenerational Deaf family and was taught ASL and English from birth. While growing up, DiMarco attended deaf schools and received a bilingual education in ASL and English. Multiple times while being interviewed on America’s Next Top Model and Dancing with the Stars, DiMarco has thanked the Deaf community for its role in his success.
“If it weren’t for the Deaf community, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” DiMarco said. “I want to give back to my community. We’re in this together.”
In addition to supporting strong families in raising Deaf children and advocating access to language, DiMarco wants to use his public profile to raise awareness of Deaf issues and influence the general public’s perception of Deaf individuals.
“Our goal is to change the narrative behind what it means to be Deaf. We want to reframe perceptions for parents, professionals, and society at large. Being Deaf or hard of hearing can and should be an empowering and positive part of one’s identity,” DiMarco said.
DiMarco is the living embodiment of how a positive Deaf identity can contribute to an individual’s ability to succeed. Before his rise to stardom, DiMarco earned a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Gallaudet University and harbored dreams of becoming a math teacher at a deaf school.
“I still hope to someday return to the field of deaf education and help the next generation of young Deaf children learn and grow through ASL and English,” DiMarco said.
“In the meantime, I hope to make a difference through the Foundation.”
For more information, visit www.nyledimarcofoundation.com.
For Immediate Release
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