Our Deaf Mentors

Lavona Kay Collins
Maryville, Tennessee

My name is Lavona Collins. I live in Maryville, Tennessee. I worked at First Tennessee Bank for 21 years and am currently retired. A few of my hobbies that I enjoy include staying at home, reading, drawing, stitching and crocheting. I graduated from the Tennessee School for the Deaf back in 1974. After graduating high school, I went to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester, but didn’t end up graduating from NTID. Instead, I transferred to Knoxville Copper Business College where I majored in book keeping and later graduated. I always enjoy hiking and seeing waterfalls in the mountains. I also like traveling to new places with friends and meeting new people. I delight in riding my bicycle, but don’t do a lot of that activity currently. I really prefer to use the sign style of American Sign Language. In fact, I LOVE it. With my use of expression and movement, even some hearing people with no ASL knowledge can understand me. If I have no expression, people simply won’t understand me. I love being expressive, having fun, and joking around. I enjoy making people laugh and always try to one-up the other person’s joke. ASL is so much more fun than English which is dull and mind-numbing. Seriously, English Sign Language makes me fall asleep! But when I use American Sign Language I come alive! It is my favorite. That is definitely something you need to know about me. I want to be a Deaf mentor for VCI, because I desire to see new interpreters improve. I aspire to see them become skilled and reach their goals. They have the ability to positively impact the Deaf community and I want other Deaf customers pleased with new interns and interpreters.

Scott Bailey
Oak Ridge, Tennessee

My name is Scott Bailey. Back in school, I received a sign name during my involvement in the school play, Romeo and Juliet. I was Romeo and the letter “s” hand stabbing me in the heart became my sign name for Scott. I grew up and currently reside in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. I work at two locations, the Tennessee School for the Deaf and Cracker Barrel. At the Tennessee School for the Deaf, I work one on one with special needs students. I assist them with tasks and help them to classes. At Cracker Barrel, I am a dish washer. I grew up attending the Tennessee School for the Deaf, but I did not ultimately graduate from there. For High School, I actually transferred to a mainstream hearing school. I graduated from Oak Ridge High School. Later, I graduated from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester with an Associate’s degree in graphic design. As far as hobbies go, I am engaged and love spending time with my fiancé. I enjoy going outside and walking my dog, reading books, and watching movies. I want to be a Deaf mentor because I love to help people. I desire to see interns and new interpreters improve their skills, because when they become better it positively helps our local Deaf community. And we all know the Deaf community needs more interpreters! 8.16.2017 UPDATE:  Scott is married to his childhood sweetheart, Lauren.  They reside in Knoxville, Tennessee.  His hobbies include spending time with Lauren and their two furbabies, reading, watching movies, and swimming.