Mansfield Sertoma Club bike drive

The Mansfield Sertome club purchased bicycles for the Jenkins children as part of a holiday project this year.

ONTARIO -- You don’t have to look far these days to find creative ways to support deserving families. Take the Jenkins family in Ontario for instance.

Just like anyone else, you’ll find them doing what a typical family does. Dad goes to work, and Mom manages the household. The four kids go to school when the pandemic allows.

But with this family what you’ll find is anything but typical. You see, this family is deaf. Both parents and three of the four children cannot hear which makes their typical family life quite unique.

Austin, 14, is the oldest of the children. Enrolled in the Ontario Middle School, he is the only family member who can hear and is fluent in ASL (American Sign Language). He plays the role of interpreter for the entire family. With a passion for computers, he’d like to work in the Cyber Security field someday.

Deaf since birth, the two youngest girls, Jasmine (age 7) and Lily (age 8), like to do crafts, draw, play with their dolls and occasionally engage in a game of dress up. Their older sister, Savanah (age 10) enjoys all those activities as well, but also has a mischievous obsession with “Slime.”

All three of the girls attend the Ohio School for the Deaf.

On Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, they were all in for a big surprise. Mom and Dad piled everyone into the minivan and took their short journey down the street to Walmart. Nothing unusual there. But Mom and Dad were keeping a secret from them even though they were busting at the seams to say something.

Once they arrived, they met with Sertoma members Steve Allen (treasurer) and Christine Bricker (secretary) they would soon find out what that secret was.

The Mansfield Sertoma Club is a local philanthropy whose charge is to support hearing-impaired children. When club member Sheila Finnerty learned of this family, it was unanimously decided that Sertoma would do something for them for the holidays.

A few weeks later, the children found themselves at Walmart with a couple people they had just met leading them across the store. When they stopped, they were standing in front of the massive bike rack and were told that they could pick any bike they want and it was theirs.

After getting past the shock and realizing that this was really happening, Lily wasted no time and zeroed in on her selection with lightning speed. A short while later the other two girls made their choice.

Surprisingly, it was Austin who took his time, trying out a few before making his final call. They were all eager to take them for a ride, but of course there’s no riding in the store, and unfortunately the rain was pouring outside. No doubt a lot of miles are awaiting them in the not too distant future.

The Mansfield Sertoma Club would like to thank Walmart for their support and participation during this event. It would also like to thank Tanya Haga at Catalyst Life Services for introducing the club to this very special family.

If you would like to support Sertoma and help families like these, donations can be sent to 709 Ashwood Dr. Mansfield, OH 44906. For more information call or text 419-961-4307 or email at swallen18@gmail.com.

So, if you see a new rough and tumble “Biker Gang” in your neighborhood, don’t be too concerned, it’s most likely just the Jenkins family.

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