National Association of the Deaf

This lists all blog postings by the NAD and individuals who have submitted blog entries for posting by the NAD. Some of these will also be in video format (vlogs), which we expect will increase over time.

We welcome your comments! Before you send these in, please first review our Blog Policy.

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Alexander Van Hook, the 2014 Nancy J. Bloch Leadership & Advocacy Scholarship Intern at the NAD shares an update regarding the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).  
Video description and Transcript: 
Video fades to soft blue and white background with the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) logo centered. 
Video fades to white then fades to Alexander Van Hook inside the NAD Headquarters' front lobby.
ALEXANDER: Hello everyone! My name is Alexander Van Hook and I am the 2014 Nancy J. Bloch Leadership and Advocacy Scholarship intern at the National Association of the Deaf (NAD). I have exciting news to share! On July 22nd, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was voted out of the Senate Foreign Relation Committee! This means that the full Senate will have an opportunity to vote on ratifying the CRPD, and this might happen the week of July 28th.  If the Senate ratifies the CRPD, a United Nations treaty, the USA can become a part of the worldwide effort to make society accessible everywhere. American businesses and organizations can contribute with accessible ideas and products, making it possible for every deaf and hard of hearing person and a person with disability to work anywhere, travel anywhere, and study anywhere! What could be better than that?  This is the second time the Senate has a chance to ratify the CRPD. President Barack Obama signed the CRPD in 2009, and the Senate almost ratified it in December 2012 but was short by only five votes.  YOU can help! Please call your Senators to encourage them to vote YES on the CRPD! Tell them you want to be full citizens of the world and be able to go anywhere without barriers. If you’d like to do more, visit Thank you and have a great day!
Video fades to the same soft blue and white background with the NAD logo centered. Black text below the logo appears, "A production of The National Association of the Deaf (copyright) 2014 All Rights Reserved"
  1. In a historic first, the NAD Conference theme was only in ASL.

    Animated gif of #2014 NAD Conference Theme

  2. More than 1,500 attendees were at the NAD's Biennial National Conference in Atlanta, Georgia during July 1-5.

    Group of attendees in a church setting

  3. Over 100 volunteers were instrumental in its success.

  4. 90 presenters in 50 workshops provided attendees with important information, tips, updates, and news.

  5. There were 10 workshop tracks.

  6. The NAD and RID Region II partnered together to make a joint successful conference!

  7. Conference attendees had the option of saving trees and going mobile by downloading the program book via guidebook, and seeing real-time updates.

  8. Over 30 kids participated in the Kids Camp and enjoyed three full days of activities and field trips while making new friends.

  9. With over 70 exhibitors, people were able to enjoy the Exhibit Hall for three days.

  10. From June 29th to July 6th, you would see many attendees socializing in the main hotel lobby on the first floor and in front of the hotel.

  11. Awards were given out 25 individuals and organizations for their contribution to our community.

  12. The first NAD@Night event was the Opening Ceremony at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center, which was truly a symbolic representation of history and a celebration of America's 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement.

    Group Shot showing church stage and all the attendees

  13. The Opening Ceremony emcees, Stephanie & Tim Albert, created an inspirational program to kick off the conference for a great week ahead!

    Opening Ceremony emcees Stephanie and Tim Albert

  14. As another NAD@Night event, NAD hosted its first ever Community Forum during the Conference, which allowed attendees to have dialogue with each other on many issues affecting our community. After the forum finished, attendees left feeling inspired to make real change with deep understanding of core and current issues in the deaf and hard of hearing community.

  15. Community Forum hosts Juniper Sussman and Janis Cole did a great job of working with over 70 facilitators and several panelists to ensure a successful dialogue that evening.

    Juniper Sussman and Janice Cole

  16. The third NAD@Night event was the College Bowl Finals, which are a major favorite of the attendees. The six teams that started the competition were the Southwest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf (SWCID), University of Texas, University of Minnesota, National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), Gallaudet University, and California State University - Northridge (CSUN). Three teams made it into the finals and the final score was NTID/RIT 79, Gallaudet University 77, and CSUN 75, respectively. It was a very close competition and all the teams did a phenomenal job!

  17. As the emcee for the College Bowl Finals, CJ Jones was hilarious and kept everyone's attention throughout the competition.

    CJ Jones

  18. The Council of Representatives (COR) had over 150 delegates representing the deaf and hard of hearing community and voted on the top 5 priorities: Preservation and Advocacy of Relay Services (PARS); FEMA Communication to Deaf and Hard of Hearing; Preservation of Mental Health Services that Meet the Needs of Deaf People; Defining and Supporting the Education Strategy Team's Focus for 2014-2016; Outreach to Deaf Youth including Mainstream School Students, and voted for the new NAD Board of Directors.

  19. On the 4th of July, the Panoramic Firework Bash & Live Auction, another NAD@Night event, was sold out, thanks to a wonderfully entertaining line up including Austin Andrews, Wawa Snipe, and the auctioneering Benedicts!

  20. During this Fourth of July event, we celebrated RID's 50th Birthday!

    RID's 50th Birthday with a woman holding a cake

  21. Miss Deaf America put her the crown down to end the forty-year NAD legacy of the Miss Deaf America Ambassador Program (MDAAP).

    Miss Deaf America

  22. As MDAAP came to a close, we welcomed in a new NAD@Night legacy, the Youth Ambassador Program (YAP). The YAP had six finalists: Keith Delk, Allison Friedman, Ryan Hait-Campbell, Elena Mayer, Danah Richter, and Satish Thapa. After an evening of great "battles" and presentations, Ryan Hait-Campbell and Elena Mayer were chosen as the newly selected NAD Youth Ambassadors for 2014-2016.

  23. During the YAP Finals, the two emcees, Tyrone Giordano and Rosa Lee Timm, captivated the audience with their extraordinary stage presence and encouraged audience to tweet/Instagram/Facebook #nadyap, #teamTY, and #teamRL.

    Tyrone Giordano and Rosa Lee Timm

  24. Once #NAD2014 finished, people were ready to sign up for #NAD2016 in Phoenix, Arizona!

    Poster for 2016 NAD Conference in Phoenix, Arizona.

  25. None of the above would have been possible if not for our partners -- thank you for your continued support and believing in the NAD's Mission.

Want to see the rest of the photos? You can!

For this month’s #NADHandwave, the NAD is excited to recognize a person who works diligently to support people with disabilities to become better self-advocates -- her name is Haben Girma.

Haben is a DeafBlind attorney who graduated from Harvard Law School in 2013, and since then has speedily engaged in a great deal of activism to promote the rights of people with disabilities. She already has been recognized twice for her hard work. First, she was recognized as one of 21 Most Impressive Students at Harvard. Second, the White House gave an award to Haben as one of the Champions of Change. She has a deep commitment to students who need more access in schools.

She currently serves as a Skadden Fellow attorney at Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), which is a non-profit law firm dedicated to protect the rights of people with disabilities. Through this position, Haben has been able to break down physical and attitudinal barriers and strives to improve access for students with disabilities in schools.

Because of her work and her example, she has been highly sought as a presenter and has been giving speeches all over the United States, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Massachusetts, and Oregon. She is often invited to educate people about the rights of students who have disabilities. She encourages the parents of these students to have high expectations for their children.

During an interview she had with Business Insider (BI), she explained, “The sad fact is that besides Helen Keller, there are very few DeafBlind role models." She continued, “I created my website a while back to help inspire Americans with disabilities and their supporters so that they, too, can be role models for others.”

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) gives monthly #NADHandwaves to people in our community. This is great opportunity for the NAD to recognize people who do the work they do. With such great people, the world continues to move. If you know someone who you’d like to nominate for a #NADHandwave, you can submit your suggestion online!

Thank you for all the work you’ve done, Haben. We appreciate your work and we’re grateful for your commitment. Without your advocacy efforts, the need to educate others on our rights would be much harder to achieve.  Congratulations on receiving this month’s #NADHandwave!

Stay in the #NAD2014 loop and check out the social media feed on! Bookmark this on your browsers!

Felice Marcus is a mainstream schoolteacher at the Indian Pines Elementary School. She has tremendous passion as shown through her teaching experience for more than 25 years! Her dedication to making sure other deaf children got an education is amazing given that Felice herself grew up in public schools with little accommodations and no access to sign language.

She previously taught at The Learning Center and the New York School for the Deaf, and took on her current position as a K-2 teacher at a public school when she needed to move to south Florida to take care of her mother.

Interpreters have repeatedly told her that her classroom is a "magic land" for deaf and hard of hearing students at this public school.  Anyone who visits her classroom will see the students thriving and enthusiastically learning with this dynamic and committed teacher who has high expectations from her students.  She also has volunteered countless hours of ASL storytelling at various community events.  

Currently, she is working with a non-profit organization, Waving Hands, which is dedicated to the re-telling of children’s books through American Sign Language (ASL). It is her goal to host monthly storytelling events at libraries for deaf and hard of hearing children and their families.  

She is a past Deaf Olympian, winning gold twice in basketball in 1981 and 1985.

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) gives monthly #NADHandwaves to people in our community.  This is a great opportunity for the NAD to recognize people who do the work they do.  With such great people, the world continues to move.  If you know someone who you’d like to nominate for a #NADHandwave, you can submit your suggestion online!

Felice, thank you for ensuring everyday that children are given a chance to shine!

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[video description and transcript available below].
Juniper Sussman, one of the facilitators for the #NAD2014 Community Forum, shares further information about this great NAD@Night event. 
Video description and transcript:
Video fades to black background and white text, "NAD's First Ever Community Forum."
Video fades to Juniper Sussman standing in front of a blue background.
JUNIPER: Hello everyone!  Welcome.  I'm excited to share that this year the NAD will host its first ever Community Forum!  My name is Juniper Sussman and I'll be working with Janis Cole for the Community Forum. This is a major opportunity for the community to come together to engage in a full and open dialogue. The discussion may be sensitive or difficult, but that's okay!  This forum is great opportunity to come together, reflect, and share. It's important that everyone feels they can participate in this open and safe environment.
In order to make this possible, we need YOU.  We need many facilitators to ensure the that all members feel that they can participate and contribute to the conversation. If you had this thought to yourself, I would like to facilitate, but I have no experience... Don't worry about that. We will be sending you information and tips.  Additionally, we will provide a 2-hour training the day before the forum, to make sure you all feel comfortable and ready to help.
The Community Forum happens Wednesday night, July 2nd, 7-9 PM. Details about the training will be shared with you soon.  Even if you're not a facilitator, we hope to see you there!
If you are interested in joining the facilitator crew, please contact me at  I'll be seeing you soon!
Video fades to black.
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[Note: Video description and Transcript is below.]
Ms. Chanel Gleicher, the National Association of the Deaf's (NAD), very own Miss Deaf America, shares what she's done since April 2014 however, this is bittersweet because it is her last one as Miss Deaf America.
Video description and Transcript: 
Video fades to soft blue and white background with the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) logo centered.  
Video fades to white then fades to Miss Deaf America inside the NAD Headquarters' front lobby.  
MISS DEAF AMERICA: Hi! How many of you are looking forward to NAD Conference this summer?! So am I! I have to admit though; I do have mixed feelings about the upcoming conference because of two reasons. For one, I am excited to participate in the YAP retreat right before the Conference, as well as meeting people and attending workshops during the Conference. Secondly, it is going to be bittersweet that I am completing my duties as the Miss Deaf America (MDA).Yes, my two-year reign as the Miss Deaf America has gone in the blink of an eye! This also means that this will be my last vlog as the Miss Deaf America. 
Nonetheless, since February I have made several more appearances and I have done a lot of volunteering. I have had the opportunity to work at the Western Regional Deaf Academic Bowl and Mr. and Miss Deaf Teen America (DTA) Pageant at California School for the Deaf, Riverside (CSDR). Also, in April, I stayed with a host family for almost a week in Ventura, California. In exchange for room and board, I volunteered at their flower farm  - weeding, gardening, and meeting adorable baby goats! I also gave a presentation to a group of ASL students at Pierce College in Los Angeles about the NAD and its youth programs. My most recent visit was supporting the showing of one of the ASL Films, "In The Can," hosted at CSDR.
Just because my two-year reign is coming to an end does not mean that I will stop volunteering or be involved in the deaf community. The experiences as Miss Deaf America have taught me a lot and helped me learn what I am passionate about - being involved and being an advocate for our community no matter where I am. I will always treasure the memories I have made, including new faces I have met and worked with. 
I must thank the NAD for their everlasting support and this amazing opportunity. I would also like to thank you - the community - for being supportive during my two-year journey. Now, I am ready to let our new Youth Ambassadors lead the way for the next two years.  See you at the NAD Conference in Atlanta, Georgia this July! 
Video fades to the same soft blue and white background with the NAD logo centered.  Black text below the logo appears, "A production of The National Association of the Deaf (copyright) 2013 All rights reserved"
Sorry, you need to install flash to see this content.
[Note: video description and transcript can be found below].
Do you want an opportunity to share your voice and lobby for an important issue?  You can, during your caucus!  Jenny Buechner NAD Board Member for Region 2, explains more about what the caucus is.  Haven't registered for #NAD2014?  Don't worry, you still have time!  It's running out fast though, register by May 31, 2014.  Buy your tickets today at!  #NAD2014
Video description and transcript:
Video begins with the NAD logo in red and blue.  The NAD logo then transitions to the same logo but in green and peach colors to represent the #NAD2014 Conference theme.  Video fades to white then to NAD Board Region 2 Representative Jenny Buechner in front of a black background.  
JENNY: Hi there! What is a caucus? What is the purpose of a caucus? A caucus is for delegates and community members within regions 1, 2, 3, 4 and affiliates to get together. This allows for discussion of what happened earlier in the day, during the Council of Representatives (COR) meetings. It's an opportunity to get clarification on what's happening, ask necessary questions, and so on. People who are running for regional board positions will be able to explain their goals for their term. Individuals can also leverage the opportunity to discuss issues within their states, and learn from others. It is a truly important opportunity to participate in the caucus for discussions on topics that are important to you. Come, join us! 
Video fades to the same NAD logo in green and peach before transitioning to the NAD logo in red and blue. Black text below the logo appears, "A production of The National Association of the Deaf (copyright) 2014 All rights reserved.
Sorry, you need to install flash to see this content.
[video description and transcript available below].
Want to learn more about Community Forum taking place during #NAD2014?  Facilitators Janis Cole and Juniper Sussman take a moment to explain why you should attend.  Register by May 31, 2014 at!
Video description and transcript: Video fades to two women sitting down in front of a light green background.
BOTH: Hello!
JANIS: This summer at the NAD Conference in Atlanta, we are very excited to be hosting the Community Forum.  This is Juniper Sussman, a CODA and an interpreter.
JUNIPER: And this is Janis Cole.  She is Deaf, and an interpreter.
JANIS: The Community Forum is an opportunity for us to come together to discuss issues and concerns that are important to us. This will be a chance to bring up issues that we have not really had chance to delve into in the past.
JUNIPER: Exactly, we will share another video soon, with more details about the Community Forum. The event will take place Wednesday, July 2, 7-9 pm, please come join us!
BOTH: We are looking forward to it!
Video fades to black.

The monthly #NADHandwave recognition program is an opportunity for everyone to meet an individual who has contributed greatly to the betterment of the deaf community.  The NAD recently learned about Brian Fruits and is thrilled to award him this month’s #NADHandwave!   

He currently serves on the board for the USA Deaf Basketball Association as the Treasurer and the Wisconsin Association of the Deaf, also as their treasurer.  In the past, he has served on the Board of the Wisconsin American Sign Language Teachers of America for some time.

In 2003, he founded a co-ed softball team that consisted of both deaf and hearing players to play in the Madison School and Community Recreation (MSCR) league.  To this day, he is still the coach!  Brian played (and has coached) for various softball teams which led to several National Softball Association of the Deaf (NSAD) tournaments.  Currently, he plays with the CSD Blue Sox.

Contributing to the deaf community is important, Brian says, so that it can thrive and be strong.  He believes that youth is the key to the community, and without youth, there is no future in the deaf community.

Brian’s hobbies include hunting, gardening, softball, camping, ATV riding, and anything that involves spending time with his three boys and his wife, Mary.  He is currently working on his masters in Public Administration, and will graduate in December 2014.

The NAD was established in 1880 by deaf leaders who believed in the right of the American deaf community to use sign language, to congregate on issues important to them, and to have its interests represented at the national level. As a nonprofit federation, the mission of the NAD is to preserve, protect, and promote the civil, human, and linguistic rights of deaf and hard of hearing people in the United States. The advocacy scope of the NAD is broad, covering the breadth of a lifetime and impacting future generations in the areas of early intervention, education, employment, health care, technology, telecommunications, youth leadership, and more.

The NAD wishes to recognize exemplary people and appreciates Brian Fruits for all that he does.  If you know someone the NAD should recognize for next month’s #NADHandwave, nominate today!

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