Two-year-old Samantha Savitz isn't your typical toddler. She happens to be deaf, but she's a voracious communicator. According to her parents, she loves to talk to anyone who knows sign language.
"She's super engaging," her father, Raphael, told CBS News. "She wants to chat up with anybody."
Unfortunately for little Samantha, however, a walk through her neighborhood in Newton, MA, didn't lead to many conversations. Whenever her neighbors would see her on a walk or in her yard, they struggled to connect. As one said: "I didn't know what to say back . . . basic conversation that one would have with a child."
No one would have chided this community for letting this problem go, yet Samantha's neighbors did something remarkable instead. They collectively hired an instructor, Rhys McGovern, to provide them with an immersive course in American Sign Language.
"This is remarkable because a lot of times, even the parents of deaf children don't bother to learn sign language," Rhys said. "But here Sam has a full community that's signing and communicating with her and her family, and it is a beautiful story."
According to Rhys, Sam stops by at the end of the classes, and it's a thrill to see her call them "friend." He added that this level of inclusion will almost certainly guarantee a happier, more well-adjusted child. And, no doubt, happier neighbors, too.