Fall 2017 - In This Issue:
Note from Editor

NEW! Quarterly Newsletter

Due to the increase demand in our services, we will now publish our newsletters on a Quarterly not Monthly basis.
Expect our Winter 2018 edition in February 2018. Deadline for submissions will be January 12, 2018.
Leadership Corner

Dear Community & DAS Supporters, 

It has been a whole year since I have been back as the Executive Director and its been such a pleasure! The staff and board have worked very hard to develop new services and make sure that we are covering the needs of the community.

This year we have started a Health Care Coordination service to help people to connect with their health care providers and manage their health concerns. We are examining ways to expand our interpreting services to meet the growing need. We have also expanded services to include a Hard of Hearing Support group for those who need more education, advocacy and access to communication strategies and assistive devices.

All these changes, and new services allow for us to reach more people and do better work, all while maintaining our original mission to Deaf Culture and Sign Language.

This year we welcome back Robert Cagle to the board and are pleased to have Lisa Belk, Amy Heider, Scott Gentzke, Catie Dines, Ryan Dunn, Cathie Kersten and Mark A. Smith join for the first time. Its always exciting to have support and guidance from knowledgeable community members. With every new year, we also have to say goodby to several DAS board members. We are extremely grateful to Jeanette Grimaldi, Sharon LeRoy and Christina Manning for their tireless support of DAS over the years. You will be missed.

I want to close by thanking each and every one of you who trust us to assist you, the students who learn from us and the customers who request our help.

Board Corner

Scott Gentzke

Scott has been involved with Deaf Education since 2000 working with mainstreamed and residential deaf students from pre-school all the way through college. Currently, he is the Dean of Students & Director of Residential Services at St. Mary's School for the Deaf in Buffalo, NY. In this role, he oversees the residential program, after-school activities, and student discipline. 
In the spring of 2017, Scott earned his Educational Specialist in Deaf Education (Ed.S) degree from Gallaudet University and is now a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) Candidate in the Critical Studies in the Education of Deaf Learners program at Gallaudet.   He  is currently working on his dissertation which will examine how developing a sense of school belonging is different for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students. 
Scott joined DAS' Board of Directors, so he could better understand the needs of the Western New York Deaf community and to use his experience and skills to help meet those needs and support the mission of DAS.

In Memoriam

Edith "Edie" Hotchkiss

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the unexpected passing of Edith "Edie" Hotchkiss. Edith passed away in her sleep, Friday/Saturday, October 6/7, 2017 night.
Edie was one of our ASL teachers and currently was a substitute. We appreciated her willingness to help out, especially at the last minute, with subbing and offering 1-on-1 tutoring sessions. Edith's continued to show her spirit of generosity, by teaching Deaf Refugees ASL and assisting them on how to adapt to their new lifestyle in the USA. 

She was also a trailblazer too, by participating in The Self-Advocacy Center's first ever Peer Bus Training program. A program where she would teach Deaf/HH individuals how to use Buffalo's Transportation (NFTA) system, thus enabling them to have more independent. 
An avid cyclist, she was know for walking around in her helmet! She was 53 years old.
We will surely miss Edith's caring, positive and fun spirit.
Services were held Monday, October 16, 2017 at Buffalo Suburban SDA (7th Day Adventist) Church, 5580 Genesee St. in Lancaster, NY 14086. 

An avid cyclist, Edie was known for walking around in wearing her helmet.

If you wish to express your Sympathy, please contact us communications@wnydas.org and we will be provide you with her mother's contact information.

What's Happening at DAS
Interpreting Department

( really 2 and a substitute!)

Picture This :
On 9/26/17 a Deaf person wakes up at 5:45AM to watch the morning news ready to struggle through the captioning to see what's happening in the world. He/She turns on Channel 7 at 6AM, SURPRISE!!!
Instead of having to read English captions, they see in the lower left corner of the screen Buffalo Deaf Community's own Liana (Godzik) Reamsnyder signing the morning news program from 6AM to 7AM!

Under the auspices of the Deaf Awareness Week (DAW) Committee (chaired in exemplary fashion by Melissa Lackey and Pamela Rohring), and DAW Committee member, Scott Gentzke, and with some intense lobbying by Marti Gorman (Executive Director Buffalo by Choice/Citybration), Channel 7, WKBW TV showed its progressive and inclusive approach to the news. On that day, Channel 7, provided a sign interpreter for the  entire  news broadcasts at 6AM, Noon and 6PM. In addition, they also provided an interpreter for AM Buffalo, a talk/news program at 10 AM hosted by Linda Pellegrino

Many thanks to Sue Dobmeier at Channel 7 for making this opportunity happen. 
  Hands waving in gratitude to  Liana Reamsnyder, Karen Gambino (noon and 6 PM), and  Jen Weisel for volunteering their time. Unfortunately, Jen had to cancel her appearance at the last minute. However, we appreciate her spirit and willingness to volunteer her time to help the Buffalo Community become exposed to the Deaf Community and the interpreting process.  Fortunately, the AM Buffalo Crowd did not suffer, we found a substitute older male interpreter who looks like Santa Claus, DAS' own Nelson Gannon!

Important note:
The Interpreting Department would like to set up a meeting for any Deaf/HH Community members, Interpreters, and anyone else, interested to discuss the feasibility of getting the local news interpreted on a regular basis. 
Please contact ngannon@wnydas.org or (716) 748-7100 (VP). The sooner the better!

Did You Know (DYK):
  • If you have a favorite interpreter just let us know by phone, e mail, or text.
  • When you go to an appointment and schedule a follow up, let the scheduler know to request your preferred interpreter.
  • You can specify that you want the interpreter to be from a specific agency, DAS of course. The reason for this is that sometimes conflict of interest may impact your choice, the preferred may only work for one agency,etc.
  • If you have a gender preference please let us know. Also please be aware that there are only 4 male interpreters in the Buffalo area, so if you prefer a male interpreter, book him quickly.
  • If you have an upcoming appointment and want to know if, (1) an interpreter has been requested, and (2) who is your interpreter, please call, email or text us. We are always happy to provide that information.
  • When calling the Interpreting Department, we may ask you for your date of birth (DOB).
    Many medical practices as well as others agencies, use the DOB to track in their computer systems for accuracy.
Health Care Coordination

Effective September 2017, Deaf Access Services is offering health assessments and services to connect Deaf/HH individuals who have Medicaid to primary care and other necessary health services. 
DAS will be providing these health care coordination services as a partner of Health Homes of Upstate New York (HHUNY).

Health Home services are not the same as "home health services".  DAS will not be sending aides to your house to help you!  But DAS  will make sure you have access to your doctor, to an interpreter, and that you can easily order and pick up your prescriptions. We will also be able to connect you with specialists and help you understand your doctors discharge summaries and prescriptions. These are some examples of our Health Care Coordination services.
To join or to get more information, please contact Andrea Russell, Community Services Navigator at arussell@wnydas.org or (716) 335-9180.

Deaf Refugee Program

The ASL Class for Deaf refugees and immigrants has begun with a new school year and a new teacher,  Julie Pasternak!  Thanks to the grant from Jewish Family Services (JFS), we meet Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 10am to 1pm.  
In their home countries, hearing family members did many things li paying bills, handling disputes and other things and the Deaf family member did not have an opportunity to learn. The more experiences the better.
In the next month, we will be having two field trips. We will go to the downtown Public Library, here the refugees can get library cards and see where they can use computers. Also we are planning a field trip to the Albright-Knox Museum on either November 3 or December 1. (Did you know the museum is free the first Friday of the month?) 

If you want to go that day too, just go to the museum and we will see you there!

If anyone wants to help car pool, contact Conchetta Lopresti, clopresti@wnydas.org or (716) 833-1637 ext.102.
Education & Outreach

In addition to providing Community Sign Language classes, we provide outreach services to local organizations, businesses, and schools to help them with various ways to connect with their Deaf and Hard of Hearing Communities. 
As mentioned earlier, May 2017, we started a Hard of Hearing Peer Support group. The group meets monthly at DAS on the 1st & 3rd Wednesdays from 10am to 12pm.
The group provides information on various communication modes (such CART, SEE, Oral Interpreting), Assistive technology, Self-Identity, Self-Advocacy skills and more.  
If you or someone you know is interested or have additional questions, please contact:  Gloria Matthews, gmatthews@wnydas.org or Conchetta LoPresti,  clopresti@wnydas.org  or (716) 833-1637 ext. 102.
Community Services

DAS was invited to participate in NTID's 17th Annual Job Fair and its Meet & Greet - Employer's Panel.
Selected employers presented to students and other employers, about their organization, what employment opportunities they offer, and the what qualifications they are looking for.  
The Employer's Panel consisted of 6 companies/federal agencies and included 3 Deaf professionals representing their respective entity. Andrea Russell, Community Navigator, represented DAS and did a phenomenal presentation and Q & A series!
This was DAS' 1st year being invited and it was AMAZING! Over 48 Employers and hundreds of educated, up & coming, young Deaf Professionals ready to enter the work field, is was energizing and inspiring!

Community Events & News
Click on the flyers for the up and coming events.

The Affirmative ProjectBetween People,  will be holding performances this weekend, October 27-29. 
Our very own, Gloria Matthews, Community Education & Outreach Coordinator, will be one of the many performers!

Sign Language Interpreters will be provided

Events hosted by Community Organizations:

DAS Holiday Closings

November 23-24, 2017 - CLOSED; will re-open 9am,  Monday, November 27

December 25-26, 2017 - CLOSED; will re-open 9am, Wednesday,  December 27

New Years Day
January 1, 2018 -  CLOSED;  will re-open 9am,Tuesday,  January 2

Martin Luther King's Day
January 15, 2018 - CLOSED; will open at 9am,Tuesday, January 16  
Board of Directors

Community Outreach

If you would like to contribute articles or information to our next newsletter please contact us at communications@wnydas.org
Annual Sponsors

DAS 2017 Financial Contributors