GET TO KNOW US!


Who We Serve  From toddlers to older adults who are deaf or hard of hearing, we have services to assist you with living your best life


Get Involved  We offer excellent youth programming, Hearing Assistive Technology, Certified Interpreters, Advocacy, Educational Workshops, American Sign Language Classes, and many volunteer opportunities!


Did you know.....


 .....Most deaf children are born to hearing parents


 ....Over 14% of the population identify as deaf or lives with significant hearing loss


....Hearing aids are typically not covered by insurance including Medicare and Medicaid


....There are over 2600 children living with profound hearing loss in Kent County Michigan    

          

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Services

3680 44th SE

Suite 201

Kentwood MI 49515

616.732.7358

                

 

Deaf, Inc., dba Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services,

An independent 501(c)3 agency serving Grand Rapids and surrounding areas since 1996 (incorporated in 2002). As the sole full-service agency for the Deaf and hard of hearing communities in West Michigan, we fill 4000+interpreter assignments annually, and provide further services through American Sign Language classes, Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity training, equipment assistance and advocacy, and a children’s educational and social skills program in West Michigan.

         OUR CORE VALUES

We hold our Core Values close to us. Everything we do is based off of these core values.

Inclusiveness - At D&HHS we believe that deaf and hard of hearing individuals should have the same access and ability to participate as any hearing individual.  That is what makes a community vibrant....when everyone is included.


Integrity - The deaf community depend on our ability to provide quality interpreters and quality programs for any need.  Donors count on us to be good stewards of the money entrusted to fulfill our mission.  Integrity is our backbone.


 

Support & Funding

 

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services is supported by; Quota International, The Weller Family Foundation, the Peter C. and Emajean Cook Foundation, Willard & Wanda Lyons Trust,  Youth Fund at Grand Rapids Community Foundation, Perrigo Foundation, Richwood Industries, and through inidividual and corporate donations.

 

 We appreciate every donation we receive.  With your support, together we make an impact with the deaf and hard of hearing community.

 

 We receive no government funding and rely solely on fee for services, private donations, and grants.

Please consider a donation to help make an impact in the life of those living with profound hearing loss.

 




OUR STAFF

DEB ATWOOD - EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

I am the Executive Director of this wonderful agency. I am responsible for fiscal management to ensure the financial integrity of our agency. I supervise and assist the Development Director in reaching goals related to fundraising and fees for service. I am also responsible for negotiating contracts,  and managing staff effectively so we can maintain professional standards with integrity to those whom entrust us to serve them.

 

I lend upper management support to our Interpreter Services Specialist, Hearing Loss and Technology Specialist, our accountant, and administrative assistant. Through good Human Resource management, I work to maintain a staff that follows the standards and practices of workplace laws as well as ensure that all who represent our agency do so with inclusive and welcoming professionalism.

 

 

DENISE STEPHENSON-ACCOUNTANT

 I am a registered CPA and have been a staff accountant for a CPA firm and a controller for a mid-size company. 

My responsibilities here encompass all that is financial.  I am in charge of payroll, billing, documenting donations and full charge accounting through month end close..  I also assist with all registrations for our events and classes and answer all questions and concerns to the best of my abiity. 


LINDA VANDER LEEK - INTERPRETER REFERRAL SPECIALIST

Linda Vander Leek is excited to join our team as our new Interpreter Services Specialist. She maintains a list of professional sign language interpreters who work for D&HHS as independent contractors.  West Michigan courts, hospitals, colleges and all kinds of businesses and government offices call her when they need a sign language interpreter, and she arranges the scheduling details of the interpreter job assignment.

 

 

 

LINDA BYLSMA, VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR

Volunteers are a critical piece of the success of D&HHS. The Volunteer Coordinator matches volunteers with their interest areas, and direct them so that their strengths are used in the best way.

I learned of D&HHS while raising a Deaf daughter, Rachel. My husband  and I used D&HHS guidance and resources during her growing years.


Jennifer Kolhoff

Workshop Coordinator

    I am the Workshop Coordinator for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services.  In my role,  Workshops that are offered are based on what working interpreters want and need to maintain their certifications in the state of Michigan and their continued learning in the field.  Because of this, we request RID and MDCR/DODDBHH Continuing Educational Units or CEUs for all of the workshops that we host.   

We  hold workshops for interpreters, Deaf community members, and ITP students on a regular basis covering topics that fall under the main categories of interpreting.  Medical/Mental Health, Legal, DeafBlind, and Educational/Skill-building.

 

 

 

             OUR HISTORY

 

1996-- Established as a program under Life Guidance Services

1998-- Moved to Disability Advocates of Kent County

2002-- Became an independent and incorporated 501(c)3 nonprofit

 

2006--Established the Hearing Assistive Technology program

 

2009--Established the Youth program

 

 

 

 

 


TESTIMONIALS

I just wanted to give you some feedback on last night. What a feat, huh? To manage to get ahold of the right people and pull this thing together in the short amount of time you had is totally amazing (in 4 days). Kudos to all of you, including Sandy (Faulkner).


I generally don’t get too excited about events that have a lot of “hoopla”, but last night was an exception. Regardless of where one may stand politically, it has to be one of my most favorite events of all time to interpret for! The energy and enthusiasm in the room was infectious.


The bottom line is, two individuals who initially thought they would be unable to attend an event were able to go and have equal access and participation! Thank you for giving me the opportunity! It’s just a reminder of how much I love my job and the satisfaction that it gives.


– An anonymous interpreter

HELEN TOMPSON

D&HHS brings so many programs to our community. The commitment of every person from staff to volunteers is unparalleled! It is an honor to be an interpreter for D&HHS!


– Bobbi B., RID Interpreter


In my role as a Community Liaison, I have the privilege of working with many community agencies who share a common mission with Hospice of Michigan–“to serve those who seek out their services, regardless of circumstance”. Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, a non-profit organization serving the deaf and hard of hearing in our community, is one of those stellar agencies!


This past year, I had the opportunity to do a training on “end of life care” for their membership group–it was a wonderful learning experience for me, and raised my awareness tremendously to the needs of the deaf community, especially at end of life. Since then, I have had the good fortune to continue to collaborate with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services through community events aimed at raising awareness and advocating on the behalf of others.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services’ mission, to enrich the lives of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community by promoting equal communication, advocacy, social opportunities, community resources and education to all, is a mission everyone can get behind and support! At Hospice of Michigan, we are proud to be a community partner!


 –   Margaret Howard



"I’m happy with my hearing aids. I have enjoyed TV better, even though the TV is louder. But I work with it OK. I thank you and your staff for making this possible for me. Thanks."


– William H., a hard of hearing consumer


“My life has changed so much for the better. The staff hooked me up with resources which I never knew existed and made it possible for me to afford hearing aids. I no longer have to read captions on my television. I can actually carry on conversations in groups. The audiologist who was recommended to me was very caring and helpful with things like how to clean my hearing aid. I’m so thankful for this service.”


- Terri Ambrose, a hard of hearing consumer



The day I got my hearing aids, the first thing I did was to turn down the volume on my TV and car radio. I was very surprised at all I was missing. I love not having to ask people to repeat what they have said to me. … Thank you so very much for making this possible. God Bless!


– Judi O., a hard of hearing consumer