Friday, July 29, 2005

Deaf kids tune in to celebrity (Jerry Ferris of The Bachelorette show)

Do any of you remember Jerry Ferris from The Bachelorette show? He's single. If you're interested in him, contact him! He's up for grabs! :)

-S


From the newsroom of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, New York, Saturday, July 23, 2005 .....

Deaf kids tune in to celebrity

Brockport native of 'Bachelorette' fame delivers hugs, smiles, praise

Greg Livadas
Staff writer

As a finalist on ABC's The Bachelorette earlier this year, millions of people saw Jerry Ferris ultimately rejected on national television.

But that emotional blow hasn't slowed the Brockport native. He's had two movie offers and is in Rochester this weekend helping raise money for Rochester School for the Deaf.

Ferris, 29, an art gallery director now living in Los Angeles, is the son of deaf parents.

His mother, Paula, lives in Sweden; his father, also named Jerry, died in a car accident in 1991.

Surrounded Friday by 100 children — about half of them summer students at RSD — Ferris willingly posed for pictures and signed autographs: "Great Job!" he wrote to RSD student Rachel Broadhurst, 11, of Chili and included a drawing of a hand making "I love you" in sign language.

Rachel said Ferris was the first famous person she's met.

Ferris said he decided to become more involved in the deaf community after the Bachelorette episode where he took his date home and told her his mother is deaf.

"After the hometown date, there was an overwhelming response to that episode from other children with deaf parents, like me," he said.

Called CODAs, or children of deaf adults, hearing children with deaf parents often share common experiences growing up, such as serving as their parent's ears, making telephone calls for them and being interpreters.

Bailey Engler, 7, of Clarkson, a hearing child of deaf parents, also attended the event, even though he didn't know who Ferris was. He enjoyed the clowns, the twisted balloons and building crafts provided by Home Depot.

RSD student Trish Sickler-Sherman, 12, of Springwater, Livingston County, got a giant hug and a smile from Ferris. "He was very nice," she said.

Ferris hoped to be a role model for the children, to let them know they can succeed whether they are deaf or hearing.

"I'm glad this is what is important to him," said Ferris' sister, Lynda, 24, as their mom looked on.

Ferris was to participate in a golf tournament today before returning to L.A.

And for the women wanting to know whether he's still single, Ferris says he is.

"If you know of anybody, let me know," he said.

Copyright 2005 Rochester Democrat and Chronicle