FY17 Advocacy Priorities

Announcing DEAF, Inc.'s FY 17 Advocacy Priorities for Deaf, DeafBlind, Hard of Hearing, and Late-Deafened Community

The Deaf and Hard of Hearing population has increased to one in every five people, as a result of aging, noise-induced hearing loss, almost 15 years of continuous war and traumatic injury. The need for services for this community is greater than ever.

MCDHH Deaf and Hard of Hearing Independent Living Services (DHILS) provides essential services in American Sign Language (ASL), the language of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals in need of economic stabilization; skills development; housing; nutrition assistance; insurance benefits; collaborative case management services with MCB, MRC, DCF, MCDHH; and much more.Funding for MCDHH has been decreasing consistently. H2 budget shows another cut of $233,628. Cutting MCDHH funding again will have a significant adverse impact, including:

  • • Increased poverty, isolation, communication barriers
  • • Increased risk of financial instability, homelessness, and lapse in health insurance
  • • Loss of support services, peer supports, and peer education
  • • Increased wait times for consumer appointments; inability to serve same number of people

Increase funding by $467,212 for Line Item 4125-0100 to support DEAF, Inc. DHILS

MCB DeafBlind Community Access Network (DBCAN) trains “Providers” and matches them with DeafBlind adults. DBCAN enables DeafBlind adults to maintain and increase their independence and thereby their health and safety. Providers support DeafBlind adults, enabling them to complete their education, fulfill and maintain employment, and participate in society.

Increase funding by $71,000 in Line Item 4110-1000 for DBCAN – Less will result in:

  • • Increased risks for chronic or life threatening conditions that can lead to hospitalizations and institutional placements, resulting in even greater costs to the Commonwealth
  • • Increased risks for adverse mental health conditions, particularly depression
  • • Decreased opportunities for employment - DBCAN’s Provider services employs sighted Deaf and Hard of Hearing adults, offering a pathway to economic self-sufficiency

Project HOPE (Health Outreach Prevention and Education) provides health literacy and HIV/AIDS medical case management in ASL to prevent infections and improve health outcomes.

Increase funding by $83,325 and earmark for Deaf and Hard of Hearing HIV Medical Case Management in Line Item 4512-0103 – Current fund mainly supports staffing only:

  • • Increased risks of serious health complications related to HIV/AIDS from lack of access to managing chronic conditions, nutrition information, and physical exercise
  • • Increased safety risks for Deaf emergency room and hospital patients without medical case management, who need 1:1 health education, support and advocacy


Click here to download a PDF of the above priorities.

For more Information about how DEAF, Inc. services support people in Your District, contact Sharon Applegate or 617-505-4823 (VP); 617-254-4041 (TTY/Voice).

Season’s Greetings from DEAF, Inc.

handsAs the year draws to a close, we want to wish everyone happy holidays and a happy New Year. We thank our community who come to DEAF, Inc. and work to achieve their goals; our amazing and dedicated staff; our wonderful volunteers, DEAF, Inc.’s Board of Directors, and especially our generous donors - individuals, families, foundations, businesses, corporations who give what they can to ensure that Deaf-accessible services remain available across Massachusetts – Deaf and Hard of Hearing Independent Living Services, DeafBlind Community Access Network (DBCAN), and Project HOPE health outreach, prevention and education (including medical case management). We also thank those who advocate for Deaf and disability services in Massachusetts and elsewhere. We look forward to the New Year with you all.

Welcoming Yuta Yoshida, Our Japanese Intern


Yuta Yoshida in his office at DEAF, Inc.

Sept. 15, 2015 - This fall, DEAF, Inc. welcomes Yuta Yoshida, our new international intern from Japan, who will be working with Sharon Applegate this fall. Yuta is a Computer Science student from Tsukuba University of Technology, in Japan (an hour north east of Tokyo). He is part of the UMass Boston’s Duskin Disability Leadership Program, a partnership of UMass Boston’s Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) and Japan’s Duskin Ainowa Foundation. The program is an intensive 5-month program for Japanese people with disabilities who want to develop leadership skills that they can bring back to Japan.

In 2014, Yuta participated in a Culture and Communication Exchange Program. He visited universities in Korea and China to learn about disability issues in different cultures. “I experienced many hardships relating to my disability… I began to think I want to learn how to overcome the disability. In America, many people have a strong identity and I thought I can learn many things from them.”

Yuta is fluent in Japanese Sign Language. He studied English, and is a fluent English reader and writer. “I have grown up surrounded by the deaf environment from my childhood. In my university, all students are deaf and most of the teachers can use sign language.” At DEAF, Inc., Yuta is learning ASL.

Yuta has been adapting to life in Boston and his work at DEAF, Inc. He spends some of his time working with receptionist Matt Kelley at the front desk in the Allston office. There Yuta practices his ASL skills greeting visitors and connecting them to staff members who can answer their questions in depth. Primarily, Yuta is focusing on projects for Sharon, including a project to interview community members and post their stories as vlogs on DEAF, Inc.’s website, www.deafinconline.org. He joins the staff for lunch and will be working with staff to meet with community members for his main project.

Of his long-term goals, Yuta says, “I want to help many people similar to me, talking about how to overcome the disability, identity and so on.” How does he like living in Boston? “I have lived in Boston only for one month… Now I’m having a good time in Boston."

Yuta’s schedule at DEAF, Inc. is still being settled, but look for him at the office and at events, like our Deaf Community Thanksgiving, this fall.


Staff Appreciation Day 2015

By Diana Goldfarb

On Aug. 7, DEAF, Inc. staff members and families enjoyed a day of picnicking, socializing, and boating at our annual Staff Appreciation Day at Cochituate State Park, hosted by the Board of Directors. While some stayed on the shore, many of us took to the water for 2 hours of kayaking, standing paddle boarding, and pedal boating to make our Staff Appreciation the best ever! Thanks to Boating in Boston for their generous donation and their outstanding staff, and Cochituate State Park for another year of fun and their generous support.

Click below to see photos!

Team DEAF, Inc. Celebrates Another Successful Run/Walk at the James Joyce Ramble

Team DEAF, Inc. runners, walkers, and volunteers scored another win as part of our 2015 Walk/Run for Deaf Pride at the James Joyce Ramble. The team raised much needed funds for communication accessibility and Deaf services. DEAF, Inc. volunteers staffed our tent and the race water table at the finish line, handing out bottles of water to thirsty runners and walkers as they completed the course. Special thanks to Board member Alicia Wooten for organizing our part of the event this year! Hands Waving! Thank you to everyone – runners, walkers, volunteers, planners, and our generous donors (not shown but always behind us)! It’s not too late to mail your check to “DEAF, Inc.” in honor of Team DEAF, Inc. or visit http://www.gofundme.com/DEAFIncJJR.

2015 Team DEAF, Inc. at JJR

Pictured here (L-R, back row: Robin Raymond-Meehan (walker), John Meehan (volunteer); next row: Matt Hochkeppel (volunteer), Board member Alicia Wooten (Team Organizer), Pauline Raiche (walker), Marie Desrosiers (walker), Lisa Gentile (DBCAN Provider), Board President Kelly Kim (runner), Board member Diana Goldfarb (volunteer), David Goldfarb (runner), Board member Nigel Long (volunteer); next row: Myrna Hochkeppel (volunteer), Executive Director Sharon Applegate (volunteer), Nkiki Akunwafor (walker); seated and on the grass: Carisa Hochkeppel (volunteer), Elaine Ducharme (volunteer), Steffy McQuiggan (walker) and Eileen Schreyer (DBCAN Provider), Abby Jo D’Agostino (walker), Board member Kendra Timko-Hochkeppel (volunteer), Jill Hatcher and Jeni the Hearing Dog (walkers). Not shown: Jocelyn Alleyne (walker), Lucy Annett (runner), Randy Dor (walker), Elizabeth Earley (runner), Jean Healy (walker and leader of staff training walks) and Allen Reposh (DBCAN Provider), James Johnstone (volunteer), Lori Johnstone (volunteer), Pax McCarthy (walker), Matthew Sweet (walker).


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