Amanda Pennington. Photos by Vicky Schlueter.ALTON/GODFREY - When Amanda Pennington started 3A's Sign Language Interpreting Services, her goal was to help people connect. But this connection means more to Deaf, Hard of Hearing and hearing people than she could ever realize, especially during the holiday season.

The agency offers onsite interpreting services in the Alton and Godfrey area. Pennington considers herself an agent who helps connect freelance interpreters with assignments. They celebrated the end of the year with a holiday party on Dec. 14, 2023.

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“I had the best time, and it was so cool to just be able to hang out with my people and the community and in an unabated way, not business time,” Pennington said. “We got to have fun and be ourselves. So it was just nice that everyone came out. That means so much to me, that they use their off time to spend it with me.”

The interpreters met at The Lovejoy, which also catered the event. They enjoyed candles from the new Red School Candle Company in Godfrey.

Pennington had worked as an interpreter for years before she started organizing her own business in 2019. She said the business has “flourished” since then. The 3A’s agency offers interpreting services in a variety of settings, including classrooms, interviews, businesses, meetings, court, performances and medical appointments.

Pennington noted that they try to satisfy both the Deaf and hearing clients they work with. Bridging the communication gap and facilitating access for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people are their two main goals. They specifically serve the Alton and Godfrey area.

“We are here at any time for anybody, and we’re working for all of them, not just the Deaf people. We are also interpreters for the hearing community to be able to bridge the communication between the Deaf community and the hearing community and businesses of all types,” Pennington explained. “With access, anything is possible. So we give our community members that use wheelchairs access to buildings by way of ramps and access to facilities by way of wide doors. We’re in the same category. Just providing access is the most important thing for everyone involved, and we are here and we’re happy to help anytime.”

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For other interpreters, working with Pennington and 3A’s has been a positive experience. Vicky Schlueter has been an interpreter for 25 years, and she said Pennington has been her “best employer.”

“She just follows the motto, ‘Do unto others,’ and she’s very ethical. I just really can’t say enough about her ethics and her values and stuff and what she tries to do,” Schlueter noted. “She treats everyone like a friend and the way she would want to be treated, and that’s what makes it successful.”

Schlueter noted that the company makes it easier for people to connect in the Riverbend region because they have quick access to interpreting services, a difference from before when they would have to contact agencies in St. Louis and hope an interpreter would come through. Pennington and Schlueter hope to see 3A’s continue to grow and thrive .

“The Deaf community supports Amanda, supports 3A’s, and she’s also there for the hearing side,” Schlueter added. “We want to bring everybody together despite their differences or their disabilities or abilities. We just want to bring everyone together.”

For more information about 3A’s Sign Language Interpreting Services or to connect with an interpreter, visit their official website at 3AInterpreting.com or contact Pennington at 224-388-6221.

3A's interpreters smile at their holiday party.

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