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June 13, 2003

CSD Accepts Invitation to Support Community in Southern Florida

From: CSD (press release) - Jun 13, 2003



Release Date:June 13, 2003

Contact: Derric Miller

CSD Communications Office

CSD Accepts Invitation to Support Community in Southern Florida

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — CSD, the nationwide nonprofit telecommunications and human services organization, announced today the opening of a new branch office in southern Florida to better support the local community with their informational needs.

"We are looking forward to working with CSD as we share the mutual goal of providing better services to the deaf and hard of hearing community, " said Clara Gantes, Program Administrator at Deaf Services Bureau, based in Miami, FL. "There is a great need in the Fort Lauderdale area. Our agency focuses on the Hispanic deaf community in south Florida, and we are looking forward to working with CSD in order to reach out to the Miami and Broward counties."

The Fort Lauderdale office makes it possible for CSD to increase public awareness of the company's available products and services, as well as enhance the delivery of its programs. The new office is a result of CSD's ongoing efforts to reach out to new communities that request assistance or support. At the Fort Lauderdale office location, CSD will be promoting national programs such as video relay services (VRS).

Introduced last year by CSD and Sprint, USAVRS offers the nation's 28 million deaf and hard of hearing individuals the ability to communicate with the hearing by using ASL in a format comparable to standard video conferencing. A deaf caller contacts a video interpreter via a Web camera through their computer. The interpreter then translates the caller's ASL into speech for hearing users and speech into ASL for the deaf user. USAVRS is free to all users and requires only a personal computer, a Web camera and high-speed Internet connectivity such as DSL or a cable modem.

CSD will provide outreach to the local communities with information on VRS as a part of a nationwide, joint effort with Sprint to inform the deaf and hard of hearing community.

"In May 2002, was first launched, and since then, we've constantly explored ways to increase awareness of this new means of enabling functional equivalency," said Benjamin Soukup, CSD chief executive officer. "This spirit of innovation is the reason why CSD and Sprint are perpetual leaders in the telecommunications relay service and VRS industries."

Sprint and CSD have a history of developing innovative approaches to telecommunications relay services. The two organizations have been providing traditional telecommunications relay service (TRS) through a joint partnership since 1992. Using video applications on such a scale to provide greater accessibility was a first for the call center industry, as well as for the deaf and hard of hearing communities.

About CSD– CSD (also known as Communication Service for the Deaf, Inc.) was established in 1975, primarily to provide sign language interpreting services to deaf and hard of hearing adults in South Dakota. Today, CSD employs over 2,000 individuals in offices across the nation, providing a broad continuum of social and human services programs, as well as telecommunications relay services. CSD is a private, nonprofit agency dedicated to providing quality services; ensuring public accessibility; and increasing awareness of issues affecting deaf, hard of hearing and individuals with speech disabilities. For more information, please visit

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