Ice cream shop teaches staff ASL, embracing deaf culture

The goal to make all customers feel comfortable
Ice cream shop learns ASL, embraces deaf culture
Ice cream shop learns ASL, embraces deaf culture
Ice cream shop learns ASL, embraces deaf culture
Ice cream shop learns ASL, embraces deaf culture
Posted at 7:58 AM, May 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-04 08:14:53-04

WHITESTOWN, Ind. -- A new ice cream shop in Boone County is hoping to make your next stop in for a cold treat an experience that everyone can enjoy.

Recently the team at Fundae's Ice Cream & Sweets in Whitestown went through training to learn the basics of American Sign Language. 

It was a decision that seemed natural for Fundae's owners Donny and Kas Miller. 

The couple's 18-month-old daughter was born deaf. 

They were set up with a deaf mentor after her birth, who would come in once a week and work with family, teaching them about deaf culture and ASL. 

"For the last 18 months our family has been learning sign language so we had our deaf mentor Jeanne come teach our staff some basic signs" Miller said. 

Their mentor Jeanne Peters not only taught the ASL lessons, she helped find deaf artwork and design the t-shirts the Fundae's crew wears that show off sign language. 

"When I mentioned to my deaf community about this, many of them began looking forward to coming here and checking it out because of the deaf artwork and the people who can sign here," Peters said. "We want to spread knowledge in the community about ASL and the culture, that we are the same as hearing people, it's just that we can't hear." 

With the steps they've taken to incorporate deaf culture, Fundae's is now a deaf friendly certified business.  

"The next day we had someone who came in who was mute, they weren't deaf but they couldn't speak, so they were signing so we had a couple people who could sign with them" Miller said. 

For anyone who is interested in learning ASL, Peters had some advice. 

"I recommend that you have a deaf instructor, who knows ASL. There are classes that are provided by the Indiana Association of the Deaf and there are a few high schools who offer it as a second language.

Embracing different cultures goes back to what the mission of Fundae's is for the Miller family. 

"We just really want it to be a really inviting place for everybody" Miller said.