Posted by Rebecca Hastie on Aug 31, 2017
Rotary Club of Balclutha first met Jill Penn when she was a guest speaker presenting her experiences in Bhutan, including a visit to the relatively new Rotary Club of Bhutan. Speaking as the newest member of our club now, Jill shares resources for using sign language and some of her film-making projects.
After learning sign language and working 4 years in disability support, Jill has contributed to many projects in the deaf community including a DVD "Change, Loss & Grief" in New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) which was in turn endorsed by the Mental Health Foundation. There are two versions:
          Part 1 deaf people share their own experiences
          Part 2 a mental health educator talks with a NZSL interpreter
New Zealand Sign Language is one of our country's three official languages, here is a video of the New Zealand National Anthem in NZLS, Maori and English and another useful resource The Online Dictionary of New Zealand Sign Language.
One of Jill's most entertaining stories involved a deaf-blind friend with whom Jill could only communicate with tactile signing. After a trip to the beach, the friend's dog began to be sick in the car after eating a fish. We can only imagine the chaos when she wasn't able to sign and drive at the same time!
Jill has won many awards for her creative projects which include filming, theatre, prosthetic make up, fashion and wearable arts. Her YouTube account holds short film treasures of local community projects such as an adorable series of wordly advice from her neighbour, Carol in Christchurch "Hints and Wrinkles":
          Health and Wellbeing
          House and Garden
Closer to Balclutha Jill has filmed:
          Owaka Swap Shop (follow this great community asset on the Owaka Swap Shop Facebook page)
Jill concludes with the message "Don't be afraid of difference."
Congratulations, Jill, on adding Rotary membership to your incredible collection of achievements!