By Alexander Sanborn, Public Relations/Outreach Specialist
Another year of Deaf Awareness Week (DAW) has gone by!
While attendance at various events has decreased, we still enjoyed seeing our Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community & Friends at all four of our offices.
Leading an event was a challenge for me as first year staff, and there are some improvements I need to make and be ready for next year, including more time focused on event planning and advertising. However, I learned a lot about DAW in general this past year, how to plan a DAW activity, and what people would like to see at events.
The DAW events with the highest turnouts were Interpreting Services of Central California’s (ISCC) Ice Cream Social & Workshop, “Whose Sign Is It Anyway?” game (hosted by me), and “Merced’s 8th Annual Social & Games Day.” Based on feedback from the community and staff, these events will definitely be back next year.
Other events, such as “Animal Sign Art,” “Salinas’ Pizza Night,” and “Visalia’s Movie Event: Sweet Nothing In My Ear,” also had a good turnout, especially Salinas’ Pizza Night (hosted by DHHSC Central Coast Outreach). During the Pizza Night, our Salinas staff hosted Deaf Trivia and had a “Town Hall” meeting to discuss how DHHSC can improve services. What changes will come to DHHSC Central Coast Outreach, you ask? Stay tuned for additional information!
The highlight of DAW 2019 was “Honoring Lavina’s Legacy,” which drew a considerable number of people, including Lavina’s family. Not only that, but we had our first ever Facebook Live (social media platform) which tapes the presentation of the host, Joshua Blanco, with assistance of our Executive Director, Michelle Bronson. They explained donations needed for Lavina’s memorial tile to be included in the memorial section of the Community Room at DHHSC Fresno Headquarters. Joshua reflected on Lavina’s legacy with DHHSC, especially her role as Support Services Provider for the Deaf-Blind and her involvement with the Deaf-Blind Support Group (DBSG). People also shared memories of Lavina, voted on a favorite picture of her, and brainstormed on words that best captured her essence. The winning picture and descriptive words will be included on Lavina’s tile. This event was successful and led to changes in the Client Services Specialist job description that now include focusing on clients who are part of the LGBTQIA+ Community.
Given that this year’s DAW had an overall good turnout, there will be some changes to our DAW activities next year. What are they? Stay tuned for next year!
We, the staff at DHHSC, want to thank our community and college students for coming to our DAW events. We had fun and some good laughs, especially during the “Whose Sign Is It Anyway?” event. Without you, it would not be possible. Hands wave to you!
As we close out DAW 2019, here’s a look back at some of our events (see attached pictures). See you all next year for DAW 2020!