Sam. (Shari Small/WBZ NewsRadio)
NEWTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — A true sense of community is on display in Newton, where about 20 residents are learning sign language together—all for their very special two-year-old neighbor, who is deaf.
"Her name is Samantha, she goes by Sam," her father, Raffi, told WBZ NewsRadio's Shari Small. "She probably knows 800 words of sign language. Yeah, she likes to tell little stories!"
Her father says the neighbors in the tight-knit community just couldn't bear not being able to communicate with Sam, so now, they're learning sign language, too.
"Sam is my new little baby friend," said neighbor Lucia. "Her favorite thing to say about me is that I'm silly, that I'm a silly lady, because I'm always making crazy faces at her and doing things. At least I know what she's saying about me!"
Lucia said she may not know it, but Sam has changed the neighborhood in a big way.
"Sam is doing this for us," she said. "We just happen to be doing this thing to try to communicate with her, but what it's doing inadvertently is, it's bringing us all together in another way as a neighborhood."
Raffi says the family is very thankful to live in the neighborhood.
"Whenever we're out walking outside, they approach us and ask Sam how she's doing, or ask her about her clothes, or about the bike she's on," Raffi said. "That they're jumping on board and trying to learn sign language is just amazing, incredible."
WBZ NewsRadio's Shari Small ( @ShariSmallNews ) reports