Feb. 2017
  DAS Insider 
In This Issue
Board of Directors

Michael Cross

Vice President
Christina Manning

Komani Lundquist

Patty Tadak

Amy Crockford
Jeanette Grimaldi
Nanette Harmon
Cathie Kersten
Sharon LeRoy
Deborah Long
Kristin Miller
Aaron Saykin
Mark J.F. Schroeder
Sue Wantuck

Emeritus Members
Alice Guinane
Kathy Hoffman
Pamela Rohring

Executive Director
Pamela Kefi

DAS Staff
Stacey Allen
Carole DeRade
Nelson Gannon
Marriam Kiani
Michael Lackey
Gloria Matthews
Andrea Russell
Petra Saunders 
Annual Supporters

James H. Cummings 
Frank G. Raichle 

Quick Links...
Join Our Mailing List
Message from the Executive Director

Dear DAS Supporters and Community Members,

It has been a wonderful four months since I came back to Deaf Access Services. I was thrilled to receive a warm welcome from so many people that I haven't seen in several years. It really felt like coming home. Since October, I have been renewing relationships and learning about progress in both the community and the agency. Sometimes it's hard to see what is special unless you are looking in from the outside.

Since I was away and now coming back, I am seeing the agency and community with new eyes. I see a strong senior citizens group, filled with skilled and generous volunteers. I see new staff with energy and creativity. I see many new interpreters which gives me great hope that people are still taking the time to learn ASL, which is so important to health care, education and employment access. I also see support from many members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.

The staff and I are feeling inspired to build the agency and expand services to meet your needs. Please take time to reach out to us and tell us your ideas and ways that DAS can be there for the community. As we move forward, community connections will be critical to our success. Let's move forward together.  I am looking forward to seeing everyone at our Spring Gala.
Message from Board Member: Sue Wantuck

I first learned about DAS (originally known SHI agency) around the time I became a mom, but I wanted to focus on my life with my Deaf sons and my family. 

Later on, I accepted an offer to be on the Board of Directors where I can represent the Deaf Community.  I am truly heartened and proud to be Deaf.

I know I grew up differently than most of my Deaf friends by living in the hearing world, where I do not often fit in.  I wanted to share my true Deaf identity and my experiences just the same way so I went to Deaf colleges: NTID and Gallaudet.  I have enjoyed being a leader in advocating for our Deaf rights. Today, I have bilateral cochlear implants and working to help Late-Deafened and Hard of Hearing individuals who utilize a CI or BAHA. At DAS, I represent  my background with the cochlear implant experiences.  I like to see the CI/BAHA users develop a partnership with the Deaf community as I am aware they are two different worlds.

My experience with DAS has been a rich experience but a challenging one.  I see the whole group of diversified individuals from hearing to slight hearing loss to  Hard-of-Hearing to Deaf with /without hearing aids and/or cochlear implant(s).  I know I was a hearing aid user ever since I was very young and blended well in the Deaf community.  With my cochlear implants I do feel different but I do not let it bother me. I still am who I am - proud to be Deaf!  I learned more from my colleagues at my alma maters: NTID and Gallaudet. They have the cochlear implant as well and they actually like it and are happy with it for many different reasons. 

The most challenging experience I had at DAS is learning about finances.  I learned to  understand how to keep our DAS budget within a healthy operational status and how to expand our organizational needs through bringing in and seeking additional funding.

DAS is really the most important agency for all kind of individuals who have a hearing loss, both Deaf and Hard of Hearing.  Plus, DAS has a wonderful Interpreting Service that provides for our  interpreting needs in the communities we serve.  Another great aspect of DAS is the ASL program where we educate the public to understand Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals better. DAS also assists those with job searching, training, helping to fill out necessary forms for Social Security or ACCESS-VR. Least and not last working with Deaf refugees!!

DAS 3rd Annual Spring Gala

Additional locations, dates and times are:

Julia Boyer Reinstein Library - Losson Road, Cheektowaga
Dates: Saturdays, February 25 and March 4
Time: 11:00am - 12:00pm

Buffalo & Erie County Public Library - Downtown Location
Dates: Saturdays - March 4, 11, & 18
Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Please register via our website or click the links or flyer.  Thank You. 
Community Advocacy schedule

In order to accommodate the various needs of our Deaf and Hard of Hearing clients, effective, January 6, 2017, Mondays and Fridays have been set aside to better assist those needs.

Please contact Andrea Russell, Community Services Navigator,  arussell@wnydas.org OR Stacey Allen, Administrative Assistant, sallen@wnydas.org, to schedule your appointment. 
Ways to Support DAS

Please show your commitment this year by sending a donation to Deaf Access Services, and help us continue to provide the services that many people depend on for their communication (Interpreting/CART), employment and social services access.
Additionally, if you shop  on Amazon under their Amazon Smile program, 5% of your purchase will be donated to DAS!

Just type in http://smile.amazon.com, select Deaf Access Services as the charity of your choice, and SHOP!

Looking to become an Independent Contract Interpreter for DAS?
We are currently conducting
Interpreter Assessments

If you are a Certified Interpreter OR would like to schedule an Assessment, please contact: 
Marriam Kiani: mkiani@wnydas.org
Video Remote Interpreting (VRI)
Can be used by:
Legal, Law Enforcement and Medical Professionals to communicate easier with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals
For more information please contact:
Nelson Gannon: ngannon@wnydas.org
Community News
Mark Schroeder Invites the Community for a Special Announcement

When: March 5, 2017 at 3:00pm   
Where: Lodge Auction House at 222 Cazenovia, Buffalo, NY

Sign Language Interpreter will be present

Community Awareness
Community Outreach: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Cultural Training

On January 25, 2016, DAS was on-site to provide in-depth information about Deaf Culture and background on Hard of Hearing  individuals at the Central Library located Downtown, as  part of the Buffalo Public Library Staff Training.

The library staff  learned about the Deaf perspective from our Community Services Navigator, Andrea Russell and the Hard of Hearing perspective from Community Relations Coordinator, Gloria Matthews as well as about the different varieties of assistive technology.  Petra Saunders, our Director of Community Services, was also present  to provide on bridging the communication gaps between Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Hearing through use of ASL and more. A customized Sign Language mini-course geared towards communicating with the Deaf and/or Hard of Hearing patrons in a Library setting was also taught. 

Thank you Buffalo & Erie County Public Library for having us!

If you would like to arrange a training or workshop session(s) for your employees and/or organization, please feel free to contact us at communications@wnydas.org

WNY AT .com
Western New York Assistive Technology Project
We know firsthand how beneficial assistive technology can be to the D/deaf and hard of hearing community and have embarked on a project to identify businesses and organizations in Western New York that have this technology. Devices may include wireless receivers, hearing loops, video phones, captioning devices and smart phone / tablet applications. We are in the process of developing a website that will provide an easy way to find and use the technology. After sending hundreds of emails and getting limited responses, we need your help finding these locations. If you know of any venues (religious, educational, entertainment, businesses, etc.) that have assistive devices, please call Mike and Karen Ward at 716-984-8810, email us at info@wnyat.com or visit our website, www.wnyat.com, and click on the "Add Venue" link. Thank you!

Editor's Note:  This project is a work in progress by two of our current ASL students, Karen and Michael Ward.  Michael and their son, Shawn are the ones building up the database as Karen goes out to test the Assistive Devices available in public spaces.
Community Events
B.I.G Next General Meeting & Social

The Latest Update from Advanced Bionics
with Jamie Sklarski, AuD.

Please join us
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Buffalo Hearing & Speech Center
50 East North St., Buffalo, NY 14203

Dr. Sklarski is the northeast regional cochlear implant consumer specialist for Advanced Bionics, a position she has served in for the last three years.  Prior to this she was the Cochlear Implant Program Coordinator at the Connecticut Healthcare VA Medical Center.  She received her audiology degree from SUNY Buffalo and continues to have family ties to the Western New York Community.

There will also be a short business meeting with an update of our plans for 2017.  The treasurer will be available to accept your 2017 dues.  As usual, social time will follow the meeting. Pizza, pop, and water will be provided.  Please bring a dessert to share, if possible.  All are welcomed, including friends and family.

The meeting will be held in the lower level conference room.  Limited free parking available in the lot behind the building. We hope to see you there.

Community Want Ads
Opportunities at DAS  


  • Job Coach (per diem)
  • Sign Language Teachers - Contract
  • Volunteers
  • Interns


To apply please click Opportunities

Happy Presidents' Day!

Monday, February 20, 2017 we will be observing Presidents' Day.

Regular business hours, 9:00am - 4:00pm will resume Tuesday, February 21, 2017.

All proceeds go towards our Community Services programs.
Thank you for your ongoing support, business and loyalty!
Community Relations
Deaf Access Services