Community Newsletter

August 6, 2020

Peter Bailey,
Head of School
Update from PSD In Person Operations
No visitors or volunteers permitted on campus. Activities involving outside groups/individuals are suspended until December 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.

To Whom It May Concern:

On Monday, August 3, 2020, Pennsylvania School for the Deaf Alumni Association (PSDAA) Board of Officers convened about the inappropriate statements being circulated by the board member via social media. During the meeting a Board member voluntarily resigned her position as Vice-President and is no longer an officer as of this date.

After we resolved the matter, we discussed further the need to improve the status of PSDAA officers' commitment.  A Code of Conduct will be created and each officer will sign it yearly.  This will take effect immediately. In addition, we plan to have a training course to educate the officers to work with BIPOC [Black, Indigenous and People of Color].

PSDAA supports PSD and PCBDA [Philadelphia Chapter Black Deaf Advocates] in Black Lives Matter's causes.


June Goodwin
President, PSDAA
8/9/20 Sunday, 4pm 
Highlights the history and development of Black ASL
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 21st. 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
Last week, Governor Wolf extended the statewide eviction moratorium to August 31, 2020. This is great news for renters and landlords struggling due to COVID-19.
Programs for rent and mortgage assistance are open until September 30, 2020. Renters must submit 3 items: a lessee household certification-renter application, a landlord application, and the landlord-property certification. Mail your completed applications and supporting documentation to the appropriate county agency:
  • Philadelphia residents mail applications to the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation (PHDC), located at 1234 Market Street, 16th Floor, Philadelphia, PA, 19107. Online applications are available here.
  • Montgomery County residents mail applications to COVID-19 Rent Relief Program, Montgomery County Human Services Center, P.O. Box 311, Norristown, PA, 19404-0311, or via e-mail to
Homeowners can apply online or send a paper application to the appropriate county agency, as listed above.
PHFA is available to help weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1-855-827-3466. I fought for this much-needed funding in recent budget negotiations. Please apply, if needed.

Please follow me on Facebook and Twitter to stay involved and receive live updates on issues and events. Be sure to check out my latest videos on YouTube, my latest photos on Instagram and subscribe to my Participation is Power Podcast!

Senator Art Haywood
The City of Philadelphia’s FREE, quality pre-k program
is now enrolling for the 2020-2021 school year, at over 130 locations throughout the city!

All children who live in Philadelphia and will be 3 or 4 years old on September 1 are eligible. There are no income requirements for participation in this pre-K program.

Enrolling is as easy as 1-2-3:
  1. Visit or call 844-PHL-PREK to find a program near you
  2. Contact the program of your preference
  3. Provide proof of age and residency, and complete the PHLpreK application
  • Please note: All childcare and pre-K providers are following new safety and cleaning protocols, in compliance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. These include: Mask requirements, Social distancing and limited class sizes, ew cleaning protocols

The safety of PHLpreK students, families, and staff is our top priority. Learn more about our COVID-19 safety plan at
Netflix Orders Two Documentaries About Deaf Community In America
Netflix has ordered Deaf U and Audible, two documentaries centered around the deaf community in the U.S.
Deaf U is a coming-of-age documentary series following a tight-knit group of Deaf students at Gallaudet University, a renowned private college for the deaf and hard of hearing, in Washington, D.C. Read more
The Free Library continues to follow federal, state, health, and local guidelines to help manage the spread of COVID-19. This means that we still cannot welcome patrons into our buildings for regular visits. However, we are happy to share a few important updates with you:  
  • Some Free Library locations are now offering limited services, including returns, material pickups, and phone reference. Visit our new Limited Services page to see what’s available at your neighborhood library. (This page is updated daily, so please check it regularly.)
  • You can now place new holds with the Free Library! Sign in to with your library card number and PIN to place a hold online, or call your neighborhood library to place a hold over the phone. Once your materials are ready, we’ll contact you to schedule a pickup appointment. 
  • Check out our newest remote resource: a Free Library call center. Patrons can call five days a week to speak with our expert staff, who will provide information, technology help, Library updates, and more. Calling is free! Give us a dial at 1-833-TALK FLP (1-833-825-5357). We’re here Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 10:00 a.m.–3 p.m., and Wednesday, 2:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.
Many Free Library programs continue to proceed virtually, and we continue to offer robust digital resources that you can access anywhere with your library card, including ebooks, audiobooks, movies, TV, music, over 100 databases, and the New York Times online.
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.
“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. CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO 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.
Census takers can be easily identified by a valid government ID badge with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date on the badge. To confirm a census taker’s identity, the public may contact their regional census center to speak with a Census Bureau representative.
Apply for a no-cost captioning phone

What does CaptionCall do?
Our phone displays big, easy-to-read text that automatically captions your
conversations. It dials, rings, and works just like a regular phone.
• Easy to use
• Captions turn on or off as needed
• Captioned voice messages included
• No cost if you have hearing loss and need captions to use the phone efficiently

Do you have trouble hearing on the phone? Do you keep
asking people to repeat themselves? If so, you may be eligible
for no-cost telephone captioning from CaptionCall.
Better phone calls now

ASL Interpreted Facebook videos | 877-557-2227
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 MyASLTech 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....

Cap4Kids Updated Link to the website for services and resources including food, housing, utility, self care, etc.

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. 17th 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.