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December 8, 2002

CHAD opens a new ‘ world ’ to hearing impaired

From: Chester Daily Local Online, PA - 08 Dec 2002

By GRETCHEN METZ, Staff Writer December 08, 2002

WEST CHESTER -- The Center for Hearing and Deafness opened a whole new world for Yashaira "Chari" Colon.
"I was raised in a hearing world," said Colon, 17, who is hard of hearing and visually impaired."My father and mother made me go to mainstream school where there were few deaf people, but a lot of hearing people. I was raised among hearing people all my life."

Then one "weird day of walking" she passed by the center and went in, she said. It has been a special relationship ever since.

"They encouraged me to know the deaf world better and encouraged me to be involved in the deaf community," Colon said. "Now I feel connected to the deaf world."

The center has provided a special alarm clock to Colon, helped her in her daily routine and has set up an interview with a college she hopes to attend.

"They’ve helped me in so many ways," Colon said.

The center, headquartered in the 100 block of West Market Street, is one of roughly three dozen nonprofit organizations in Chester County that receive funds from the Daily Local News’ Give-A-Christmas campaign.

"Raising funds is very difficult," said Bill Lockard, executive director. "When you’re a small organization, just getting services out the door is difficult."

The center, which goes under the acronym CHAD, was established in 1994 and operates with three full-time and four part-time staff and 80 volunteers. Its annual budget is $289,000. Some 200 people benefit from direct services and the center has provided information to 4,000 others.

CHAD provides multiple services that focus on its clients’ communication needs which enable them to deal with legal, financial and health issues, both physical and mental. The end goal is to help clients with their independent living skills, Lockard said.

CHAD is a social service provider, and not a provider of hearing aids, for example, Lockard added.

The money received from the Give-A-Christmas campaign will be used with the center’s general funds. This is the third year the center has participated in the Give-A-Christmas campaign.

In its 15th year, the campaign raises money to help Chester County’s children, elderly, poor, sick and disadvantaged during the holiday season and throughout the year. It began on Thanksgiving and ends on Christmas.

The donated money goes directly to agencies that apply for funds. Last year, 33 organizations representing a variety of social services received and distributed the donations. All the money sent to the Daily Local News is given to the various agencies. Not one penny is kept for administrative costs.

Since Give-A-Christmas began in 1988, almost $500,000 has been raised. For the 2001 campaign, Daily Local News readers contributed $47,137.86 to the social service agencies taking part.

Give-A-Christmas donations can be sent to Sharon Maletz, Give-A-Christmas Campaign, The Daily Local News, 250 N. Bradford Ave., West Chester, PA 19382.

©Daily Local News 2002