The Unites Community Foundation is proud to support non-profit organizations that have been impacted by COVID-19. This includes organizations that are currently struggling with resources, funding shortages, or adapting their services in response to the pandemic. This week, CSD announced the six organizations within the deaf community that will receive these micro-grants to support their efforts.
“The pandemic has disrupted the lives of so many, especially underserved communities like [the deaf community] and the organizations that serve them,” said Sasha Ponappa, CSD Unites Director. “We are very pleased to offer these micro-grants during such a difficult time and help deliver funding where it can have a significant and positive impact on the deaf and hard of hearing community.”
Learn more about these grant recipients and the projects they’re working on below.
The Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and Blind (ASDB) have been the primary provider of educational services for children who are deaf, hard of hearing, or blind in Arizona since 1912. These schools serve more than 2,000 students from birth to grade 12. Many of these students are from Arizona’s Navajo Nation.
The Navajo Nation of Arizona has been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, with more than 700 cases diagnosed as of April 12th. The closure of businesses and schools, intended to stop the spread of COVID-19, have had an especially hard effect on the deaf and hard of hearing students within the Navajo Nation. Many of families of deaf children face challenges meeting basic needs, such as obtaining food, medical services and educational resources.
ASDB will use this grant to assist these families in accessing basic services and prevent regression in learning through educational support. Families of ASDB students will receive monthly funds for groceries and gasoline, as well as sensory tools for their children, such as books, Play-Doh, and other educational toys. They will also provide additional training and support for teachers who are working with these students remotely.
For nearly twenty years, CaringWorks has been working to reduce homelessness and empower marginalized communities, including deaf people, by providing access to housing and services that foster dignity, self-sufficiency, and well-being.
CaringWorks maintains one of the few D/HH-centered residential treatment and recovery services in the US. While CaringWorks is based in the Greater Atlanta area, they welcome clients from around the nation. CaringWorks empowers D/HH men to maintain sobriety, address mental health needs, and develop communications and other skills for independent living.
Strict quarantine procedures have made it difficult to provide mental health services and regular monitoring for the uninsured, homeless deaf men that they serve. CaringWorks will use this micro-grant to provide virtual support for deaf and hard of hearing participants in residential treatment.
Health Signs Center is a new organization that promotes and advocates for the deaf communities by providing accessible information about health resources, health equity, and how to improve health access.
The deaf community has been especially impacted by COVID-19. This is due to a lack of inclusive emergency preparedness and response policies, many of which were established before the current crisis.
Health Signs Center is working to change this. With the funds from this grant, the organization will launch a nationwide study to identify gaps in emergency response policies. This data will then be used to improve current policies in preparation for future crises.
HEARD is an organization that supports members of the deaf/disabled community who are going through the criminal legal process – up to, during, and after incarceration. This organization works to correct and prevent wrongful convictions. They also provide advocacy for deaf and hard of hearing prisoners.
Marginalized groups are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and this is even more noticeable among incarcerated people. Deaf prisoners are experiencing increased isolation due to restrictions on visitors, a lack of video-based communication tools, and little information available in ASL. Additionally, they may not be getting the information about the virus that they need to stay safe.
HEARD will use these funds to operate a national hotline for incarcerated deaf/disabled individuals. They plan to provide educational vlogs in ASL about the COVID-19 crisis and mass incarceration. They will also advocate for videophones in prison and compassionate early releases for deaf/disabled people who are at high risk of contracting COVID-19.
Partners in Deaf Health is a non-profit advocacy group dedicated to improving access to health information within the deaf community. They have a track record of success with a range of interventions including ASL videos, health fairs, and partnerships with health and education organizations. Partners in Deaf Health has already done tremendous work to make the health care system more accessible.
Currently, there is not enough accessible information concerning the COVID-19. In a time with so much uncertainty, and with new information shared daily, it is especially critical to disseminate accessible information and resources.
Partners in Deaf Health will use this micro-grant to expand their series of ASL videos featuring medical professionals and scientists. These videos will share accurate information on topics like COVID-19 prevention, self-quarantine, symptoms, and more.
Established in 1970, The Learning Center for the Deaf works to ensure that all deaf and hard of hearing children and adults have the knowledge, opportunity, and the power to design the future of their choice.
The Learning Center for the Deaf provides services to over 2,000 children, adults and families and 150 organizations across Massachusetts each year.
Like many organizations, The Learning Center for the Deaf is adjusting to the new reality of COVID-19, including providing services virtually. One service that has been especially impacted has been TLC’s Walden Community Services program. This program provides home and community-based wraparound support services to deaf children and to any family with a deaf member. While the need for these services has increased over the past two months, social distancing regulations have made it even more difficult to provide them.
The Learning Center for the Deaf will use their funds to purchase technology that will allow them to transition to providing telehealth services to 95 families across the state of Massachusetts.