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October 5, 2005

"THE CSD JOURNEY" series - National Programs

From: CSD Community & Media Relations - Oct 5, 2005

The CSD Journey
This series of articles highlights Communication Service for the Deaf's expansion from a one-person operation to the largest deaf-run organization in the world, employing over 3,200 employees in 42 offices.

Giving Back to the Community
As a social enterprise, giving back to the community is the core of CSD's mission to improve the quality of life for the deaf and hard of hearing. CSD realized that financial support from the public and private sector could only support a limited number of programs and services. It was then that CSD decided to re-invest revenue from telecommunications relay (TRS) and video relay (VRS) services into human service programs. Thus, consumers who use CSD's TRS or VRS are helping CSD invest in the deaf and hard of hearing community.

CSD National Programs
CSD started a sign language interpreter referral service in 1975. The following year, CSD began the first TTY interpreting service — a forerunner to TRS — before state law even mandated its provision. A few of the other original services were advocacy and legal support, as well as a program for deaf senior citizens. All services were for residents of Sioux Falls and surrounding communities.

CSD stepped outside the Sioux Falls area in 1984 with its first branch office in Rapid City, S.D. By 1991, South Dakota branch offices were also opened in Aberdeen and Pierre. Another important milestone was marked in 1993, when CSD opened its first out of state branch office in Fargo, N.D., followed by Council Bluffs, Iowa a year later.

The rapid growth of the Sprint-CSD Relay Service brought additional revenue to CSD. In 1999, CSD merged with D.E.A.F, Inc. to become CSD of Minnesota. Following its success, requests from deaf and hard of hearing communities in other states poured in. This led to the eventual establishment of offices in Oklahoma, Maryland, Ohio, Texas, Georgia and Wisconsin.

CSD National Programs currently runs 15 branch offices in eight states. Services and programs vary from state to state, but may include information and referral, advocacy, independent living skills training, interpreter mentoring, telecommunications equipment distribution, adult basic education, ASL classes, mental health education and referral, employment training, social and recreation activities, accessibility/legislation support, alcohol/drug prevention and more — most at no cost to the consumer. Additionally, each branch office has public workstations available for consumers to use VRS.

Long-time partners and community leaders will join C.E.O. Benjamin J. Soukup — along with CSD officers, employees and friends of CSD — at the Sioux Falls Convention Center in South Dakota on Friday, Oct. 28 to commemorate CSD's 30th anniversary. A new book, "Seeing A Need," will be launched during the banquet. Event information is available at

Watch For Upcoming Articles: "Equipment Distribution Programs", "Camp Lakodia – A Year-Round Deaf-Friendly Retreat" and "Who Has The Fastest Connection?".