Ministry to the Deaf: Sister Arline Eveld's Story

sisters of st joseph of carondelet

Sister Arline Eveld with her student, Jacob Heeb.


by Sister Arline Eveld

After living and teaching for 47 years at St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf, I moved to St. Charles to serve in a CSJ ministry that would provide for young children with hearing loss and their parents who were not able to access proper educational services due to distance, financial problems, or other prohibitive conditions. I had no problem finding children.

In 1997, as I attended the AG Bell Convention in Little Rock, Ark., for Educators and Parents of children with hearing loss, Dan and Brenda Heeb contacted me for help with their little boy, Jacob, who had a cochlear implant. They lived in Oran, Mo., a small town south of Cape Girardeau and there were no aural-oral programs to teach him to listen and speak.

After we exchanged several phone calls , I went to visit them. The best arrangement we decided was for his mother to homeschool him and I would make weekly visits to teach Jacob to use his cochlear implant for speech and language development and to coach his mother in various ways to expand his skills. She had been a high school teacher so she had an education background. I soon realized that she had an outstanding ability to teach Jacob and that our efforts would lead to success.

The public school superintendent and the local public school principal in Oran were most appreciative of my services and they paid for my tutoring and travel expenses plus books and other educational materials for the six years that I tutored Jacob. They also paid for some of Jacob’s audiological service sat St. Joseph institute for the Deaf in Chesterfield, Mo.

The Heeb Family and I worked well as a team and Jacob, who had to overcome a number of serious obstacles, made unusual progress once we determined that his cochlear implant was not functioning properly and needed to be replaced.

Recently, I attended Jacob’s graduation ceremony from Oran High School. He received a number of awards and scholarships. He became salutatorian of Oran High’s Class of 2013. Needless to say, he got a standing ovation after his speech and I too was acknowledged for my role in teaching him.

Jacob is enrolled at Southeast Missouri State University and would like to become a computer graphic artist or an animator.

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