By Craig Day, The News On 6
TULSA, OKLAHOMA -- It's the start of a new era at Tulsa's Happy Hands Learning Center.
The school is for children with hearing disabilities. Their new building was made possible with a big gift.
Since 1994, the Happy Hands Educational Center has helped children with hearing loss and communication disorders.
"So that by the time they reach school age, their language development, their academic development is ready, prepared for the first grade," said Jan Pride, Happy Hands Director.
Now Happy Hands is making a difference in the lives of children from infants up to six years old in a brand new, multimillion dollar facility.
"Every day, I walk in and I just think, wow! How did we get here? This is just fantastic," Pride said.
Thanks to a $6.8 million grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, Happy Hands now has a 22,000 square foot facility. It's a big improvement over the 2,000 square foot, 50-year-old house the nonprofit group was using.
"We were limited in the number of children that we would serve, we were limited on the kinds of services we could provide," Pride said.
Having more room enables them to go from helping 28 children at one time to 70.
"You just wanted to cry because you finally get to see their dreams come true, and they can help so many more kids now," said Kendra Spencer.
Kendra Spencer knows how much of a difference the new facility will make. She has a two children that attend Happy Hands Learning Center: one with a hearing disability, the other so that he can learn sign language.
"It's amazing all of the things they can do now, and interact with the teacher," Spencer said.
There are plenty of upgrades in technology, including an audiology booth, and other equipment.
"It's changing the lives of the children first," Pride said. "That's the most important, but it's also changing the lives of families."
With the new expansion, Happy Hands went from having a two-year waiting list, to currently having a few openings left for children.
The new facility is located at 8801 S. Garnett Road in Broken Arrow. The public can attend open houses this Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.