Hi! Welcome to Hope Signs’ new corner of the virtual world! I am Rebecca Diley, the founder and president of Hope Signs. Allow me to share my story with you and how it has led to the development of Hope Signs.
I grew up in Florida and am the oldest of five children, I naturally fell into a responsible role for my younger siblings and in turn they have grown into the greatest gifts in my life. My family is my rock and my biggest support. In 2012, with their support, I graduated with a Undergraduate degree in Special Education and then in 2013 a Graduate Degree in Deaf Education.
I started traveling at a young age and was exposed to different ways of life, ultimately shaping and expanding my worldview. Traveling to different countries and experiencing different cultures was an important and meaningful time in my adolescence. It impacted me in ways I did not expect; especially when I faced overwhelming beauty and darkness in parts of the world I had never considered before. This is what it was like for me in my travels to Peru, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Trinidad, Honduras, Belize and Guatemala. I was faced with the inexplicable contrast of the stunning landscape and lovely people against the lack of opportunity and exploitation of a group of people so near to my heart. Through my travels in Guatemala I was made aware of the significant population of deaf individuals, who due to lack of access to language, education, and even just the basic human rights were being oppressed and silenced.
My heart ached.
And still aches.
My father, an incredible man, is deaf and I grew up communicating through American Sign Language. My father taught me to love reading, to drive, to love and to be compassionate, showed me how to be a leader and supports my every goal in life. So, regardless of any stigma of deafness around the world, I knew there was so much potential for the deaf, if they only had someone to show them, to tell them they were valued and able, and that with God, nothing is impossible.
All that brings us to a warm evening in Guatemala by the rippling waters of Lake Itza, which was remarkably reflecting the night sky. It was Thanksgiving, and I was on the phone with my mother, who was already having a difficult time with my holiday absence; I am still reminded that it was my fault the mashed potatoes were an epic fail that year. Inspite of undercooked potatoes, I found a quiet moment in that conversation to share with my mom that my eyes had been opened, there was work to be done in this place, and I felt called to be here. I knew there was a need for Hope, I didn’t know what that was going to look like, but I knew I had to do something. I could not just leave with fresh relationships and pictures, I had to do something more.
Now almost 10 years later, after many more trips to Guatemala and other developing countries, and with the support of an amazing team, we have founded this organization called Hope Signs. Our mission is to enhance the quality of life for the deaf in developing countries by giving them access to language, education, and vocational training.
I am so grateful for the countless experiences and relationships that has brought this dream to life. Thank you for spending some time with me and for joining me on this life journey. We are called to speak up for the people who have no voice, for the rights of all the down-and-outers. To speak out for justice and to stand up for the poor and destitute. By leaning in to this cause, you are speaking up and I thank you.