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Clyde grad plans mission trip to Jamaica

Alissa Widman Neese • Mar 24, 2014 at 2:59 PM

Kristen Larimer, an aspiring interpreter, boasts an impressive American Sign Language vocabulary.

She’s now seeking an important sign — dollar signs — to take her skills where they’re most needed.

Larimer, 24, of Clyde, will travel to Jamaica in May to work with deaf children and adults in impoverished areas. An organization called the Caribbean Christian Center for the Deaf will coordinate the mission trip.

The only hitch: She must collect at least $1,500 in donations to make it happen.

Want to donate?

•ONLINE: Visit cccdjamaica.org and place a donation in Kristen Larimer’s name, or search for her personal donation page on youcaring.com.

•CHECKS: Send to Caribbean Christian Center for the Deaf, 124 N. Court St., Lewisburg, WV, 24901, or Kristen Larimer, 4347 Limerick Road, Clyde, OH, 43410.

•OTHER: Miller’s Super Value grocery store in Clyde will host a bake sale 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 29, with all proceeds benefitting the mission trip.

She’s started an online fundraising campaign to promote the cause.

Donated funds will help with Larimer’s airfare and international cell phone, as well as service projects in various Jamaican communities. She will stay with a host family for about two months.

“I’m most at peace when I’m able to help people” Larimer said.

Her passion for specifically serving the hearing-impaired kickstarted in Clyde, where she grew up with a deaf friend and took American Sign Language classes at Clyde High School.

“If it wasn’t for the Clyde community’s encouragement, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today,” she said. “My class was the first group of freshmen to be offered American Sign Language as a foreign language”

Larimer graduated high school in 2007 and moved to North Carolina, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in American Sign Language from Gardner-Webb University.

She’s since moved to Maryland, where she works at a women’s shelter.

The job is very rewarding, but Larimer said she’s always aspired to an even bigger goal: combining her devotion to helping others with her American Sign Language degree.

“This missionary trip is so important to me because I feel God is encouraging me to take this opportunity to give and grow,” she said. “This will allow me to live both my passions together at the same time”

Brent Borden, an American Sign Language instructor at Terra State Community College, first taught Larimer at Clyde High School.

Since her first day, Borden said he knew Larimer was a natural for the field, with great motivation and dedication, too. She was vice president of the school’s American Sign Language Club and aced her classes with flying colors, he said.

Larimer’s former teacher said he’s proud to know she plans to use her skills for a worthy cause.

“I think (the trip) is a great opportunity for her,” Borden said. “It’s so cool that one of my students would go out of the area to pursue what I taught her. I’ve always wished there were more Kristen Larimers”

Larimer is the daughter of Jack and Stephanie Larimer, who live in Clyde.

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