Staff Spotlight: TJ Geist Anderson
March 30, 2017
ARCHKids Field Day Showcase!
May 31, 2017
Every month on our DTA and Drop-In schedules we list all the classes and activities for each day.

And then there are ‘Hanni’s classes’ listed as ‘Hanni’s Educational Assistance Program’. As many of you may know, Hanni has been teaching classes at ARCH for over 33 years and is one of the longest employed staff who we have all come to rely upon and cherish.

Originally from Germany, Hanni still speaks with her German accent and stories abound of her interesting past! She moved to the US, age 19, 60 years ago, and initially lived in Milwaukee before moving to Arizona. We interviewed her about her work at ARCH:

How did you first get involved with ARCH?

It was around 1983. I had just graduated from school and got my sign language interpreters license and I wanted to teach it to others and pass it on, through doing classes. So I started teaching sign language at ARCH once or twice a week, when it was at the old building at the Alhambra gym.

When ARCH moved to its present building, I started the ARCH Alive performing group with Bunkie and got involved even more. Some of the outside groups, like the Civitans, also asked me set up an Aerobics class on Thursday evenings for their clients. That was about 27-30 years ago. Over the years I started more and more classes.

What classes do you run now at ARCH?

I do a cooking class where participants learn cooking skills like how to cut and peel vegetables, and kitchen hygiene. We used to use the Center for the Deaf as we didn’t have a big kitchen at ARCH initially. But once the kitchen was built here with the new gym, we moved it to here. Another class I run is ballroom dancing - every 3rd month, I take the class somewhere where they can dance to live music.

We also do a Camp-in twice a year – like a sleepover weekend at the ARCH campus. I still run a sign language class and aerobics and we also still do ARCH Alive performances.

I also run a class about how to have better Interpersonal relationships. Many of the participants feel like my own kids, I’ve worked with them and their families for many years and seen them grow and develop. I like working with the different individual personalities. At the moment I am teaching Lars, who is blind, how to do sign language, and he is doing really well. In the ARCH Alive class my approach is to include anybody that wants to do it; it’s amazing to see how well they all do.

I recently started a new class teaching them how to play different card games. It’s amazing to see how they are moving on. I’m teaching them how to play ‘Solitary’ at the moment.

What else do you do at ARCH?

Well, I help to do the cooking in the kitchen for almost all of ARCH’s special events.

What do you like about working at ARCH?

Like I said, I like seeing people grow and develop over the years; it’s a very rewarding job! ARCH keeps me young! If I ever have to quit ARCH that would be the end of me! People say it must be hard working with people who are handicapped, I say it’s not hard, it’s fun!

Where do you see ARCH being in 10 years’ time?

I have seen ARCH develop so much over the years. There was so much excitement when the new Gym and Kitchen were built. I’m sure it will go on to develop further.

I feel proud of what I do here and I hope I am still here too in 10 years time! I’ll be 80 in November! But ARCH keeps me going!

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