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December 30, 2004

Resources available for deaf county residents

From: The Eureka Reporter - Eureka,CA,USA - Dec 30, 2004

by Christine Bensen

The Eureka Reporter

Cherry Hess For the past 5 years the Deaf Counseling Advocacy and Referral Agencys Eureka staff has provided deaf area residents with free services.

DCARAs local office, located at 2127 Harrison Ave., serves residents in Humboldt and Del Norte counties and parts of Trinity County.

Cherry Hess, a client-support specialist and one of DCARAs two local employees, said raising a deaf daughter led her to the work she does.

DCARA provides services that include community education, referrals and employment services, she said.

The agency, which has almost 600 clients, is funded by the United Way and donations and serves people of all ages, Hess said.

We do anything to help our clients, she said. We try to get people equipment they need, like door lights.

Because deaf people cannot hear doorbells, door lights light up when a person rings the doorbell, Hess said.

DCARA also provides its clients, who cannot afford hearing aids, with assistance in finding alternatives like pocket talkers that amplify what the person hears, as well as other needed equipment, she said.

A pocket talker can range anywhere from $100 to $170, Hess said. If they cant afford it, we try to fund it through some of our local agencies.

Union Labor Health Foundations Angel Fund has been helpful in providing assistance, she said.

The Angel Fund is a distribution committee that was founded in 1997 and works under the guidance of ULHF, said Kathleen Adkins, foundation executive director.

The fund is accessible to individuals of all ages and grants up to $500 to improve health care and the environments of individuals in the county, she said.

Applications for grants must be submitted by a qualified sponsor such as a recognized social-services agency or medical provider, Adkins said.

The committee meets weekly to discuss applications. The turnaround time to receive the grant is approximately one week, she said.

The angel is not us, its in this case Cherry (Hess), Adkins said.

DCARA also provides free weekly American Sign Language classes Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. Hess said she plans to soon start a program for parents with deaf babies.

She said there are at least 10 families with deaf babies in the community.

For more information about DCARA and its services, phone (707) 476-8680 or visit its Web site at .

© 2004 The Eureka Reporter All rights reserved.