She touches many lives through her hands and expressions, impacting a world who cannot hear and another that needs to listen.
Renee Shreeves was in junior high school when she first encountered a girl who was deaf. Instead of just shying away like most children would, Renee embraced her and became fascinated with learning about Deaf disabilities. She took her first sign-language class that year, and has not stopped signing since.
“Her whole body signs. She knows it inside and out, and puts in hours of preparation,” Renee’s best friend Melissa narrated. “Her whole being is immersed in signing and interpretation.”
Renee, humbled and flattered, agreed, “Church and interpretation is what I have been called to do. So important to get the meaning across.”
Her new journey began in her 30s, when she sought a fresh start from a life of corporate America in California and wanted to do more by helping others. She began taking more sign interpretation classes that slowly re-inspired her to mold this hobby into a passion, thus spurring into a voluntarily lifestyle and a move to Texas. Renee has years of experience signing, since 1992, and now uses this experience to teach, mentor, and share with others religiously throughout the community.
She brings the religious melodies to life with her vivid pictures of gestures and emotions.
“It is a beautiful language that conveys so much,” she proclaimed.
For Renee, sign interpretation is more than just showing language, it is also a way to bring music and voice from an unheard melody to a vision of song and worship for the Deaf.
“Put expression in signing,” Renee explained. “Deaf people can’t hear music, so it’s important that they feel the music.”
Renee truly inspired me to do more in my life for others. She makes me want to learn sign-language, and I am actually contemplating taking one of the classes they may offer at her church in Southwest Dallas one day soon. I truly enjoyed taking on this story, and meeting such a positive and uplifting woman and mission.
(-Want to read more and see photos? Read the full story! This article appeared in Dallas’ Southwest NOW Magazine in July and is posted in my Current Journalism section.)