Charles Graves is giving deaf children a chance to experience an authentic Santa Claus visit by being one of the few Santa’s who can communicate with them in American Sign Language (ASL). According to CBN News, Graves, who is deaf and works as a residential counselor at The Texas School for the Deaf, realized a few years ago that he could make a great helper for Santa and listen to what children in the deaf community want for Christmas.
Graves told the DCist through translator Anthony Mowl that “there are a lot of hearing Santas out there […] And for that child to be able to look up to somebody who’s like them … that’s why I do this.” This year, Graves left Texas with his translator to bring this experience to children around the country. Since the District of Columbia has one of the largest deaf and hard-of-hearing communities, according to the DCist, Graves visited D.C. and met with children.
Mowl, Graves’ translator, shared that the experience is personal for him as his daughter is deaf. He said, “every child should be able to see a Santa that they can relate to, that they can understand, and is a reflection of themselves.” Mowl also saw even more meaning behind bringing this Christmas joy to children around the country, noting that Graves is also showing the deaf community that “even the most magical man in the world” can be deaf.
While spreading joy around the country, Graves is also spreading hope to those who may need it through one of the most magical moments of Christmas. Graves hopes that his Santa Claus persona helps grow opportunities for people in the deaf community, including the recruitment of more deaf Santa Clauses who embody the spirit of the holiday.