Helen Keller Services Celebrates Deaf-Blind Awareness Week

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Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults (HKNC), a division of Helen Keller Services (HKS), marks Deaf-Blind Awareness Week (June 24th through June 30th) with a national advocacy campaign, announced by HKNC Executive Director Susan Ruzenski. This year’s theme emphasizes the importance and promise of the younger generation of deaf-blind individuals.

“The spark of change comes from the promise of youth,” stated Ruzenski. “This year’s Deaf-Blind Awareness Week theme, Investing in Youth to Enrich Our Future, recognizes and celebrates the commitment among today’s young deaf-blind men and women to effect lasting, positive change. HKNC and its partners are here to support their emerging leadership through peer-to-peer mentoring, work-based learning, and self-advocacy. Investing in our youth helps each person who is deaf-blind live up to his or her full promise.”

HKS President and CEO Joseph Bruno observed, “As Helen Keller Services marks its 125th Anniversary, it’s a time to honor our past and embrace the future. Today’s younger generation of deaf-blind individuals is enthusiastic and already leading us in exciting new directions. This Deaf-Blind Awareness Week, we celebrate their many accomplishments and boundless potential.”

A national deaf-blind advocacy campaign has been held each year since 1984 when President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation designating the last week of June as Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week. In the years that followed, Greyhealth Group (ghg) began generously creating Deaf-Blind Awareness Week posters, pro bono. The agency’s 2018 poster depicts HKNC staff and students under the headline, “Enriching their world so they can change ours.” The poster’s copy

reminds us that HKNC is here to help the younger deaf-blind generation empower themselves and encourages everyone to visit #HKNCfuture.

“Deaf-Blind Awareness Week is all about advancing the rights of deaf-blind individuals,” concludes Ruzenski. “All of us can learn from people in the deaf-blind community — especially its youngest members who set the bar ever higher as they lead us into the future.”

For more information on Deaf-Blind Awareness Week, including an educational tool kit that includes downloadable versions of this year’s posters, please visit www.helenkeller.org/hknc/dbaw.

Headquartered in Sands Point, New York, HKNC provides comprehensive vocational and independent living training on a national level to youths and adults who are deaf-blind. It offers support and learning opportunities to professionals and family members and maintains a National Registry of Persons who are Deaf-Blind. The Center partners with other agencies across the United States to build their capacity to work with individuals who are deaf-blind.

For more information, go to www.helenkeller.org/hknc.

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