Community Newsletter

July 24, 2020
Update from PSD In Person Operations

No visitors or volunteers permitted on campus. Activities involving outside groups/individuals are suspended until December 31, 2020  

Extended School Year (ESY)
Our summer school program will continue to be done through online learning from July 6, 2020 to July 31, 2020.

As of now, PSD is scheduled to open in the Fall, with restrictions. More information regarding this will be shared in the upcoming weeks.
JUNE 27 - JULY 26, 2020

Join Us for 30 days of an EPIC celebration of Disability Pride
The 30th Anniversary of the ADA, and all out fun! We have something for everyone, 72 individual events . Performers like 4 Wheel City, Gooch and the Motion, Black Cat Habitat, and more. Comedy with Maysoon Zayid, Charles Walden, and Comedians with Disabilities Act. Conversations about Microsoft Accessibility, Person Direct Services, Black Disabled Perspective, PA ADAPT, Adaptive Sports Talk, and so much more! We have games, happy hours, and more FUN. We are having the hard conversations about disability policy at a forum with State Rep. Hohenstein and State Rep. Miller. The list goes on and on....

So hear is how to be involved

Committees on People with Disabilities,Public Health to Hold Joint Hearing on Racial, Ableist Disparities of COVID-19

Tuesday, July 28, 2020 - 10am

The Council Committee on People with Disabilities & Special Needs, chaired by Councilmember Derek S. Green (At-Large), and the Committee on Public Health & Human Services, chaired by Councilmember Cindy Bass (8 th  District), will hold a virtual joint hearing on  Resolution #200310 , which seeks to examine existing racial and ableist disparities within Black and Brown communities that have been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic.
WHO:   Councilmember Derek S. Green (At-Large);  
 Councilmember Cindy Bass (8 th  District); 
 Members of the Council Committee for People with Disabilities & Special Needs;
 Members of the Council Committee on Public Health & Human Services
WHERE:  Comcast/Xfinity Ch. 64; Verizon Fios Ch. 40
                  Streaming available on
WHEN:   Tuesday, July 28, 2020, 10:00 am 
WHY:  According to recent data, COVID-19 poses significant risk to the most vulnerable populations which include seniors, the disabled and individuals with preexisting or underlying health conditions. Historically, chronic issues like diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease affect minorities at a disproportionately higher rate than predominately white populations. This health crisis continues to exacerbate these statistics as many are at increased risk of possible exposure while on the job as one of our many essential workers, due to the inability to work remotely, lack of access to quality healthcare and testing.
To testify/submit testimony, please contact Frank Iannuzzi,
Art-Reach launched an accessible content project in partnership with a few arts organizations. We're trying to pilot what fully accessible digital content in short videos. All of the videos are captioned, and ASL interpreted. In addition all the presenters were trained on how to naturally embed visual description into their presentations. 
The first video launched today with the Museum of the American Revolution. Check out the video at the following link: 
The plan is to post a new video every Tuesday and Thursday
for the next several weeks.
Check out Art-Reach's social media for new videos as they post: @artreachphilly on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. 
Learn about the PA ABLE Savings Program!
A PA ABLE Savings Program account gives individuals with qualified disabilities (Eligible Individuals), and their families and friends, a tax-free way to save for a wide range of disability-related expenses, while maintaining government benefits. The state and federal tax-free investment options are offered to encourage Eligible Individuals and their families to save private funds to support health, independence, and quality of life.
To help you learn about the important features and benefits of PA ABLE, the Pennsylvania Treasury Department is hosting free webinars.
Some of the topics that we will discuss include: eligibility requirements for opening a PA ABLE account, the federal and state tax benefits of PA ABLE, and how PA ABLE account interacts with current benefits.

Hamilton Relay, contracted service provider for PA Relay, is currently seeking nominations for the 2020 Deaf Community Leader Award. Nominations are due  August 21 st .  Please see the attached nomination letter and questionnaire for more details and feel free to forward this message on to others.

Amy Strawser
Pennsylvania TRS Outreach Coordinator
(412) 944-7424
Training Announcement: support services for people who have a hearing & vision loss.
August 22 - 23, 2020
Radisson Hotel, Harrisburg
Cost $100

  Application Deadline extended to July 24, 2020

Providers needed statewide.
Greater demand in Erie, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh & Scranton

The Center for Independent Living of Central PA administers a program supporting Pennsylvanians who have a hearing & vision loss.

The program, DeafBlind Living Well Services (DBLWS) schedules persons (Support Service Providers) to provide the supports.
At the training, participants will learn to:
  • safely guide a person who has a hearing and vision loss.
  • acclimate a person who has a hearing and vision loss to their surroundings.
  • use communication techniques to assist in filling in the communication gap.
For more information, please view the flyer and application!
If you have questions about the training, SSPs, and/or need technical assistance completing the application, please contact DeafBlind Living Well Services.

Click here for training flyer , application and more information.

Sharon Behun, CI &CT
Director of Program Development & Expansion
Supervisor of DeafBlind Living Well Services
Center for Independent Living of Central PA
CILCP | 207 House Avenue, Suite 107, Camp Hill, PA 17011
717-731-1900 ext. 224 | 800-323-6060 | 717-731-8150 fax
717-7255-0069 videophone
Competence and Confidence Partners in Policymaking— Early Intervention (C2P2 EI)
2020 - 2021

Free Training to help you Learn the Early Intervention System and actively participate in your child’s team.

Navigate the Pennsylvania Early Intervention System, identify best practice supports and connect with community resources.

Virtual and In-person sessions are planned.
Alternative options and participant supports will be available if COVID restrictions occur.

Virtual Sessions October 2020 - February 2021:
  • Supports to participate virtually will be provided to participants 
  • Childcare expenses reimbursed
  • Virtual sessions will be live sessions

In-Person Sessions March - April 20-2021:
  • LOCATION: The Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey Hotel
  • 4650 Lindle Road  Harrisburg, PA 17111
  • tel: 717-564-5511
  • Travel and childcare expenses reimbursed
  • Meals included
  • Overnight lodging (for those traveling 40+ miles)

APPLICATION DEADLINE: September 18, 2020
All applicants will be notified the week of September 25

contact Cathy Roccia-Meier, mail:
Tel:  215-204-1772
The National Deaf Center has a wide range of materials that are great for working with the deaf population. Please visit their website to see the whole scope of options for you to use . We would like to highlight a couple as follows.
CEASD Statement on George Floyd
David Geeslin, CEASD President
The Board of CEASD recognizes the prevalence of racism in the United States and the damage it has inflicted on Black people. The recent murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police is but one example of the many forms of oppression, big and small, entrenched in our country. We stand with those who protest these aggressions. Black lives matter.  
The great American Frederick Douglass said “The life of a nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous.”
All of us must do our part to breathe those words into life. Our schools must be culturally responsive to the diverse communities we serve. We must work to ensure that our students are safe and respected at school and in their communities. We must strive for equity in all we do.   
“Unspeakable” Video Highlights the Role of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing People in Black Lives Matter
Filmmaker Emmai Alaquiva of Pittsburgh wanted to talk to his 8-year-old daughter about the racial climate in the US, but was concerned that at her age, she might not be able to fully grasp the issues.  Read more

This summer, we'll be continuing our work to empower Philadelphia residents through Census participation, but we need your help. Our  Summer of Census  plan outlines how we plan to get the word out about the importance of 2020 Census participation, and ensure communities feel safe participating. You can get involved in our Summer of Census plan by  clicking here.
Connect with Tech
Make a difference today!
During this time of social distancing, many Pennsylvanians can’t see or communicate with familiar people, friends, and family. We want to help people be able to handle anxiety and fear at this time. CLICK HERE to request technology OR donate technology .
PA Office for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing
We have created a helpful Communications card in the event that you or someone you love needs health care assistance related to COVID-19. You can access the   PDF here .  

(multiple ASL videos)

PA Unemployment Click here for an ASL captioned video UC.

Independent contractors will be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance .  Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provides emergency unemployment assistance to workers who are left out of regular state UI or who have exhausted their state UI benefits. The program will expire on December 31, 2020, unless otherwise extended.

NEW! Call Center Guide when handling calls from individuals with hearing loss.

Melissa A. Hawkins   MS, MHR  | Director
PA Department of Labor & Industry | Office for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing
1521 North 6th Street | Harrisburg, PA 17102
Phone & TTY: 800-233-3008 (PA only) | Phone & TTY: 717.783.4912
Fax: 717.783.4913,
NEW! PA Department of Human Services
Emergency Assistance Program
Has your family lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Apply for emergency assistance at

PA Coalition Against Domestic Violence

DIY Face Covering (Mask) Links
Dr. Jerome Adams, U.S. Surgeon General demonstrates how to make a face mask covering in 45 seconds. (captioned) See or for DIY face mask patterns and instructions.

(Youtube video – no sound)

Kids Stories Collection on Deaf Professional Arts Network - The Sign Language Channel (website and app offering signed and closed captioned news and entertainment videos)

National Association of the Deaf
Public Statement on George Floyd
Melissa Draganac-Hawk, President, NAD

ASDC: Talking to Your Child About Racial Justice:
ASL & English Resources
As protesters take to the streets after the death of George Floyd, conversations about racial justice are happening in homes across the country. To help you talk to your child about recent events and issues related to race, ethnicity, and racial justice, we’ve put together this list of resources for you.  CLICK HERE for resources in English and videos in ASL.

American Society for Deaf Children - ASL Stories Directory!
Click here to link to the ASL Stories Directory
ASDC FREE MyASL Tech Membership for kids!


COVID 19 Resources for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Families


The Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management (PhilaOEM) has a text alert system all about COVID-19. Text COVIDPHL to 888-777 to receive updates to your phone. Message and data rates may apply.



How Technology is Helping Deaf Professionals Communicate Remotely
As a member of the Deaf community,  Deaf-Hearing Communication Centre (DHCC)  Executive Director Neil McDevitt leads his Swarthmore-based organization in finding ways for Deaf individuals to better participate in their communities through work, fellowship and community activism. It also offers American Sign Language classes and ASL interpreting services.  Read more

DHCC - Providing Equal Access at Philadelphia-area
Black Lives Matter Protests
Many people today are fighting for basic human and civil rights. We know there are Deaf, hard of hearing and DeafBlind people who want to add their voice to peaceful protests but don’t have equal access. This changes today. We are committing to coordinating equal access for Deaf individuals who want to participate in peaceful protests by connecting them with volunteer Deaf and/or Hearing ASL interpreters. Vlog message here    Read more....

Due to the stay-at-home order, all of our Summer 2020 ASL classes and private tutoring sessions are being offered online via Zoom. Access to a laptop or desktop computer is required to sign up for online sessions.
Cap4Kids Updates

Click here for food, housing, utility, self care, etc. resources
As the news of the coronavirus spreads, so too are fears and worries about protecting yourself and your loved ones. We have a responsibility to prevent the spread of this virus. We also need to prevent the spread of misinformation, and want to be careful about making sure that the most accurate and most recent information is shared.
Catholic Deaf Philly
Our Daily Hope – Vlog Reflection

Sr. Kathleen Schipani, IHM
Director, Office for Persons with Disabilities & Deaf Apostolate
Archdiocese of Philadelphia
222 N. 17 th  Street, Philadelphia PA 19103
215.587.3913 phone /267.507.1215 video phone

Consider a gift today to help PSD continue the important work we do for our Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing students.

United Way #737
Combined Federal Campaign #87714
or click below.

We thank you for your support!

Please forward comments and announcements for posting considerations to:
Karen Leslie-Henry, Community Relations Coordinator:
Content Disclaimer
The information contained in the e-newsletter is for general information purposes only. The information is provided by Pennsylvania School for the Deaf and while we endeavor to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the newsletter or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the e-newsletter for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk. In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of data or profits arising out of, or in connection with, the use of this e-newsletter. Through this e-newsletter you are able to link to other websites that are not under the control of PSD. We have no control over the nature, content and availability of those sites. The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.