Published in the Sunderland Echo. To see the original story click here.
Football worker Ryan Williams has made a successful signing after helping develop a new schools programme.
The 18-year-old, from the SAFC Foundation, is helping to boost communication skills across Wearside schools with a course that uses football to introduce youngsters to sign language.
Now Ryan has been nominated for a national award for delivering the Sign Language through Football programme, which is breaking down barriers between hearing and deaf pupils.
Ryan, who lives in Roker, said: “When I was growing up I never thought I would be a teacher, but I really enjoy doing it.
“The kids love it, especially because of the association with the football club. The programme really helps to simplify sign language.”
Ryan first became involved with the SAFC Foundation charity through Friday night football sessions at the Seaburn Centre.
He enjoyed the ethos of learning through football so much that he signed up to a two-year apprenticeship with the charity after leaving Monkwearmouth School, aged 16.
His dedication to the Foundation’s various courses impressed staff and now Ryan has a permanent role within the initiative.
He helped develop the sign language programme which teaches basic sign language skills and combines it with football coaching sessions.
Its success has earned Ryan a nomination in the inaugural Signature Annual Awards, which have been launched to recognise outstanding achievement in giving deaf people full access in society.